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3.  <L  Saul  Collection 

IRineteeutb  Centurp 
English  literature 

purcbasefc  in  part 
tbrougb  a  contribution  to  tbe 
Xibrar^  jfunbs  mafce  bp  tbe 
department    ot   lEnglieb    in 


After  the  picture  by  George  Romney,  R.A., 
in  the  possession  of  Sir  John  Shelley,  Bart. 


























IN  1812 633 

III.  SHELLEY'S  COACHMAKER'S  ACCOUNT,  1813        .  636 

RIET, 1814 639 

1814 641 










IX.  INQUEST  ON  HARRIET  SHELLEY'S  BODY      .       .  647 

1816 652 

XL  MARRIAGE  OF  IANTHE  ELIZA  SHELLEY        .       .655 



ADONAIS:  PREFACE          671 

»        TEXT 675 



INDEX 692 



"LAON  AND  CYTHNA"  —  FACSIMILE  OF  MS.     Facing  520 


JOHN  SHELLEY  (Shelley's  brother)     .       .       .       .  „      588 


SIR  PERCY  FLORENCE  SHELLEY,  BART.     .       .  Facing  624 



„                „  PREFACE  TO  ADONAIS  „  672 

ADONAIS          V  ADONAIS  XXI           „  675 

XIV  „          XIV           „  675 

XVI  „          XVI           „  676 

»        XVII  „           XV           „  677 

„           XIX  „     not  identified  „  678 

XX  „  679 

„       XXIII  „      XXIII     .      „  680 



ADONAIS  XXIV                ADONAIS  XXV      .  Facing  681 

„        XXX 

„       XVII     .      „ 


„        XXX 

„       XVII      .      „ 



„        XLI      .      „ 



„       XLII      .      „ 


„        XLII 

»      XLIII      .     „ 


„  [VI]  not  identified 

„           XL      .      „ 


„          XIX      DRAFT  OF 






A  FRAGMENT  OF  A  "  SATIRE  ON  SATIRE  "               „ 



Shelley  in  England 

Volume  II 

Shelley  in  England 


Bysshe's  return  to  York  — Hogg's  treachery  —  The  arrival  of 
Eliza  Westbrook— Bysshe  moves  to  Keswick— Correspondence  with 
Hogg — Miss  Hitchener  the  consoler — Robert  Southey — Bysshe  and 
his  landlord — The  Duke  of  Norfolk — A  visit  to  Greystoke — Corre- 
spondence with  Mr.  Shelley — Mr.  Westbrook's  allowance — Hellen 
Shelley— William  Godwin— The  Irish  expedition— The  Shelleys 
at  Nantgwillt— Scandal  at  Cuckfield— Bysshe  and  his  grandfather 
— Letter  to  Lord  Ellenborough — Lynmouth— Miss  Hitchener — 
Tanyrallt— Shelley  arrested. 

BYSSHE  returned  to  York  by  October  26 ;  for  on 
that  date  he  wrote  to  Mr.  Shelley,  who  had  told 
him  to  discuss  any  questions  respecting  his  allowance 
with  Whitton.  The  lawyer's  cautious  method  of 
doing  business  and  his  letters  of  remonstrance  had 
so  greatly  irritated  Bysshe  that  he  was  prompted  to 
protest  to  his  father  at  the  manner  in  which  he  was 
being  treated.  Bysshe  had  been  requested  by  Whitton 
to  address  to  his  care  any  letters  that  he  might  write 
to  Mr.  Shelley,  and  not  to  send  them  direct.  But  he 
ignored  this  request,  and  wrote  to  Field  Place  ;  while 
Hogg  addressed  and  sealed  the  letter  with  his  coat 
of  arms — displaying  three  boars'  heads  couped,  with 
an  oak  tree  on  a  wreath  as  a  crest. 


Married  Life 

Mr.  Shelley  was  not  deceived  by  the  direction, 
and  sent  the  letter  to  Whitton  on  October  29. 
"  The  enclosed  is  from  York,"  he  said — "  Hogg's 
direction  and  seal."  He  then,  as  usual,  commented 
on  Bysshe's  behaviour,  especially  in  not  availing  him- 
self of  Whitton's  "  good  intentions,"  and  remarked 
that  "  when  he  can  submit  to  filial  duty,  and  obedience 
to  his  Parents,  and  gentlemanly  conduct  and  behaviour 
towards  you,  who  so  kindly  undertake  this  Unique 
[?  business]  on  my  account,  He  will  then  experience 
Parental  fondness  on  our  parts,  and  a  suitable  return 
on  yours."  Mr.  Shelley  was  relieved  that  Bysshe 
had  left  London,  and  he  had  no  wish  to  see  him,  for 
he  said,  "  York  for  ever !  I  hope  he  will  remain 
there  untill  a  thorough  amendment  takes  place." 
He  concluded  with  the  following  unexpected  reference 
to  Sir  Bysshe's  geniality  :  "  My  father  was  extremely 
pleasant  at  the  signing  the  Codicils.  Mr.  Stedman 
[a  Horsham  solicitor]  told  him  any  pen  would  do. 
'  Oh  !  ho  !  '  and  with  great  gravity  produced  Mrs. 
Clarke's  leg  that  is  sold  in  Ivory  as  a  Toy  at 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Timothy  Shelley 

[Postmark,  YORK, 
Oct.  26,  1811.] 

SIR, — When  I  last  saw  you  I  was  referred  by  you 
to  Mr.  Whitton  for  the  payment  of  the  quarterly 

Shelley  in  England 

allowance  on  which  I  was  desired  by  you  to  rely.  Mr. 
W.'s  answer  to  my  note  was  in  the  most  vague  stile 
of  complaint  concerning  the  letters  which  I  had 
written  to  you.  .  .  I  do  not  see  how  personal  feel- 
ings, even  if  unjustly  wounded,  can  be  an  excuse  to 
a  man's  own  conscience  for  the  violation  of  an  un- 
equivocal promise.  .  .  But  have  they  been  unjustly 
wounded?  Are  the  remarks  to  which  I  conjecture 
Mr.  W.'s  letters  to  allude  true  or  false.  .  .  Did  you, 
or  did  you  not  falsely  speak  of  my  friend  to  Mr.  J. 
Hogg,  and  as  falsely  assert  that  Stockdale  the  book- 
seller was  the  author  of  these  misrepresentations  ? 

Did  Graham,  the  music-master,  or  did  he  not  ward 
off  a  threatned  action  for  libel  ?  Have  you  or  have 
you  not  written  to  Mr.  Hogg  of  Stockton  letters 
calculated,  and  intended  to  lower  my  character  in 
their  opinion,  opposing  as  in  contrast  your  own  ex- 
cellencies ?  I  am  compelled  to  recur  to  these  things 
in  consequence  of  your  Attorney's  letter,  and  your 
unjust  anger. — I  am,  yours,  &c., 


[Addressed] : 

Field  Place, 

M.P.  Sussex. 

Mr.  Whitton,  however,  on  reading  this  letter  re- 
garded it  as  an  "  improper  writing  for  Mr.  Shelley's 
perusal  "  ;  he  told  Bysshe  so  in  a  note,  and  for  that 
reason  he  did  not  intend  to  forward  it.  The  lawyer 
remonstrated  with  Bysshe  for  his  "  sentiments  of 
anger  "  in  his  endeavour  to  serve  him,  and  said  that 


Married  Life 

"  the  boyish  warmth  of  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley  is  inexcus- 
able, and  W.  will  consider  that  the  flippancy  and 
impertinent  observations  made  by  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley 
are  attributable  to  an  irritable  and  uninformed  mind." 
Mr.  Whitton,  like  many  others,  experienced  a  diffi- 
culty in  maintaining  his  dignity  in  a  third  person 
letter  ;  he  wrote  in  anger,  and  he  probably  meant  to 
describe  Bysshe's  mind  as  "  unformed." 

On  Bysshe's  arrival  at  York  he  found  that  Harriet 
was  not  alone,  but  that  her  sister,  Eliza  Westbrook, 
was  keeping  her  company.  The  reasons  given  for  her 
appearance  were  such  as  to  cause  him  great  distress, 
for  they  were  none  other  than  the  result  of  treachery 
on  the  part  of  his  friend  Hogg.  It  appears  that  when 
he  was  at  Edinburgh,  attracted  by  Harriet's  girlish 
charms,  Hogg  had  fallen  deeply  in  love  with  her.  He 
did  not,  however,  declare  his  passion  until  they  went 
to  York,  when  Harriet  forbade  him  to  mention  the 
subject  again,  and  hoping  she  might  hear  no  more 
of  it,  she  forbore  to  tell  her  husband.  Then  Bysshe 
went  to  Sussex  and  left  Harriet  in  the  care  of  his 
friend,  who  not  only  again  avowed  his  love  but  pes- 
tered her  "  with  arguments  of  detestable  sophistry." 
Poor  Harriet  withstood  these  entreaties,  and,  when 
Hogg,  now  contrite,  wanted  to  write  to  Bysshe  and 
tell  him  the  whole  story,  she  refused  to  allow  him,  as 
she  feared  the  consequences  of  the  revelation  on  her 

353  z 

Shelley  in   England 

husband's  mind  at  such  a  distance.  Harriet,  however, 
took  immediate  steps  to  protect  herself  from  any 
further  annoyance  from  Hogg,  and  sent  for  her  sister 
Eliza,  who  probably  arrived  at  York  shortly  before 

In  his  letters  to  Miss  Kitchener  Bysshe  relates  these 
incidents,  and  describes  his  interview  with  Hogg 
after  learning  the  truth  from  Harriet.  Bysshe  said 
that  he  sought  Hogg,  and  they  walked  to  the  fields 
beyond  York.  He  desired  to  know  fully  the  account 
of  this  affair.  "  I  heard  it  from  him,"  he  said,  "  and 
I  believe  he  was  sincere."  ..."  Our  conversation 
was  long.  He  was  silent,  pale,  overwhelmed ;  the 
suddenness  of  the  disclosure,  and,  oh  !  I  hope  its 
heinousness,  had  affected  him.  I  told  him  that  I 
pardoned  him — freely,  fully,  completely  pardoned,  that 
not  the  least  anger  against  him  possessed  me.  His 
vices  and  not  himself  were  the  objects  of  my  horror 
and  my  hatred.  I  told  him  I  yet  ardently  panted  for 
his  real  welfare  ;  but  that  ill-success  in  crime  and 
misery  appeared  to  me  an  earnest  of  its  opposite 
in  benevolence." 

Hogg  pleaded  for  forgiveness,  and  Bysshe,  with 
singular  generosity,  pardoned  him.  He  also  begged 
for  Harriet's  forgiveness,  and  declared  that  if  he  did 
not  obtain  it  he  would  blow  his  brains  out  at  her  feet. 
Bysshe  really  believed  in  the  sincerity  of  the  penitent, 


Married  Life 

but  he  realised  that  he  and  Harriet  could  not  possibly 
continue  to  live  in  the  same  house  with  him.  Bysshe 
therefore  decided  to  leave  York  immediately ;  he 
was  very  miserable,  and  so  long  as  he  got  away  from 
that  town  he  was  indifferent  where  he  went.  Harriet 
and  her  sister  knew  and  liked  Keswick,  which  perhaps 
had  some  attraction  for  Bysshe,  as  Southey  was  living 
hard  by  at  Greta  Hall.  So  to  Keswick  they  decided  to 
go — Bysshe,  Harriet,  and  Eliza ;  they  made  their 
preparations  swiftly,  and,  although  Hogg  was  aware 
they  were  leaving,  they  departed  without  taking  fare- 
well of  him.  Wending  their  way  across  Yorkshire, 
they  halted  at  Richmond,  and  then  continued  on  their 
course  to  Keswick,  where  they  arrived  in  the  first 
week  of  November. 

Bysshe  wrote  many  letters  from  Keswick  to  Hogg, 
who  printed  some  of  them  in  his  Life  of  Shelley,  but 
apparently  in  a  much  altered  form,  so  as  to  disguise 
any  references  to  the  painful  episode  with  which  they 
were  principally  concerned.  In  reading  between  the 
lines  of  these  letters,  with  the  assistance  of  Bysshe's 
correspondence  with  Miss  Kitchener,  one  gathers  that 
Hogg  began  by  expressing  full  contrition  for  his 
conduct.  Bysshe,  who  at  first  believed  that  he  was 
really  penitent,  told  Hogg  how  deep  his  affection 
had  been  for  him,  and  how  he  had  once  fondly  hoped 
they  would  never  be  separated.  As  time  went  on, 


Shelley   in  England 

the  tone  of  Hogg's  letters  deteriorated,  and  he  now 
expressed  a  desire  that  he  might  live  again  with 
Harriet  and  Bysshe,  who  firmly  put  this  suggestion 
aside,  having  detected  in  his  sophistry  "  deep  cunning." 

When  this  device  failed,  Hogg  taunted  Bysshe  with 
his  "  consistency  in  despising  religion,  despising  duel- 
ling, and  despising  real  friendship,"  with  some  hints 
as  to  duelling  to  induce  him  to  fight  it  out  in  this 
manner.  Bysshe  replied  that  he  would  not  fight  a 
duel  with  him,  that  he  had  no  right  to  expose  his 
own  life  or  take  Hogg's.  He  confessed  he  wished, 
from  various  motives,  to  prolong  his  existence,  nor 
did  he  think  that  Hogg's  life  was  a  fair  exchange  for 
his,  as  he  had  always  acted  up  to  his  principles,  which 
was  not  the  case  with  Hogg. 

Miss  Kitchener  proved  to  Bysshe  a  consolation, 
and  his  correspondence  with  her  supplied  him  with 
an  outlet  for  his  pent-up  feelings.  '  Your  letters," 
he  said,  "  are  like  angels  sent  from  heaven  on  missions 
of  peace."  He  spoke  of  her  as  the  sister  of  his  soul 
(as  Hogg  had  once  been  his  spiritual  brother),  and 
begged  her  to  visit  them.  When  Miss  Kitchener 
demurred,  he  wrote,  "  Harriet  has  laughed  at  your 
suppositions.  She  invites  you  to  our  habitation 
wherever  we  are  ;  she  does  this  sincerely,  and  bids 
me  to  send  her  love  to  you.  Eliza,  her  sister,  is  with 
us.  She  is,  I  think,  a  woman  rather  superior  to  the 


Married  Life 

generality.  She  is  prejudiced  ;  but  her  prejudices  I 
do  not  consider  unvanquishable.  Indeed,  I  have 
already  conquered  some  of  them." 

Hogg  had  conceived  a  dislike  for  Eliza  Westbrook, 
which  was  natural,  considering  the  reason  for  her 
appearance  at  York,  and  she  probably  reciprocated 
the  dislike.  He  did  what  he  could  to  tarnish  the 
glory  with  which  Harriet  invested  her  sister.  We 
are  told  by  this  amusing  chronicler  that  Eliza  was 
old  enough l  to  be  the  mother  of  Harriet,  who  some- 
times addressed  her  as  "  Mamma,"  and  that  she  "  was 
as  dignified  as  satin  or  silk  could  make  her."  Harriet 
had  described  her  as  exquisitely  beautiful,  and  perhaps 
thought  her  so,  for  Eliza  had  cared  for  and  tended 
her  from  childhood.  Hogg  was  therefore  bitterly 
disappointed  to  find  that  Eliza's  face  was  much 
marked  with  the  scars  of  smallpox  and  deadly  white,  not 
unlike  "  a  mass  of  boiled  rice,  boiled  in  dirty  water  ;  the 
eyes  dark  but  dull,  and  without  meaning ;  the  hair 
black  and  glossy,  but  coarse,  and  there  was  an  ad- 
mired crop,  much  like  the  tail  of  a  horse — a  switch  tail. 
The  fine  figure  was  meagre,  prim,  and  constrained." 

Eliza  was  fond  of  managing,  and  soon  fell  into  the 

1  The  register  of  baptisms  of  St.  George's,  Hanover  Square,  reveals 
that  Eliza  Westbrook  was  born  on  June  4,  1782,  consequently  she  was 
thirteen  years  older  than  Harriet,  who  was  born  on  August  I,  1795.  The 
West  brooks  had  two  other  children;  Robert,  born  September  5,  1784) 
and  Mary  Ann,  born  April  31,  1781. 


Shelley  in  England 

habit  of  looking  after  Harriet  and  her  husband. 
She  also  looked  after  their  resources,  and  kept  the 
money  in  the  corner  of  an  old  stocking.  Harriet  was 
happy,  and  Bysshe  was  tolerant  of  his  sister-in-law, 
with  her  prim  ways  and  everlasting  admonitions,  whose 
favourite  remark,  when  Harriet  did  anything  out  of 
the  ordinary,  was,  "  Gracious  Heaven  !  What  would 
Miss  Warne  say?"  Even  the  omniscient  Hogg  has 
failed  to  enlighten  us  about  Eliza's  friend,  whose 
opinions  she  speculated  upon  with  so  much  curiosity. 

During  their  first  days  at  the  lakes  they  found 
lodgings  at  Townhead,  Keswick,  but  by  November  12 
they  had  moved  outside  the  town  to  Chestnut  Cottage. 
Shelley  described  the  scenery  as  "  awfully  beautiful. 
Our  window  commands  a  view  of  two  lakes,  and  the 
giant  mountains  which  confine  them.  But  the  object 
most  interesting  to  my  feelings  is  Sou  they 's  habita- 
tion. He  is  now  on  a  journey  ;  when  he  returns,  1 
shall  call  on  him."  l  Bysshe  looked  forward  to  meet- 
ing the  author  of  Kehama  with  his  accustomed  en- 
thusiasm, and  he  tells  Miss  Kitchener  in  another 
letter  that  he  had  been  contemplating  the  outside  of 
Greta  Hall.  When,  however,  in  the  course  of  time 
he  found  himself  face  to  face  with  Southey  he  was 
obliged  to  admit  disappointment.  The  older  man 
was  middle-aged,  with  settled  opinions,  and  given  to 

1  Shelley  to  Miss  Hitchener,  November  14,  1811. 


Married  Life 

offering  counsel.  "  I  am  not  sure,"  he  wrote  to  Miss 
Kitchener,1  "  that  Sou  they  is  quite  uninfluenced  by 
venality.  He  is  disinterested,  so  far  as  respects  his 
family  ;  but  I  question  if  he  is  so,  as  far  as  respects 
the  world.  His  writings  solely  support  a  numerous 
family.  His  sweet  children  are  such  amiable  creatures 
that  I  almost  forgive  what  I  suspect."  Bysshe  found 
Mrs.  Sou  they  very  stupid,  but  he  enjoyed  her  home- 
made tea-cakes.  He  also  met  other  members  of 
Sou  they 's  hospitable  household  :  his  two  sisters-in  law, 
Mrs.  Coleridge,  whom  he  thought  even  worse  than 
Mrs.  Southey,  and  Mrs.  Lovell,  formerly  an  actress 
(whom  he  liked),  the  widow  of  Robert  Lovell,  the 
young  poet-friend  of  Coleridge  and  Southey  in  their 
early  Bristol  days.  Bysshe  encountered  no  other  local 
literary  celebrities,  neither  De  Quincey  nor  bluff "  Chris- 
topher North,"  and  his  desire  to  meet  the  other  lake 
poets,  Coleridge  and  Wordsworth,  was  not  fulfilled. 

The  young  couple  in  engaging  the  furnished  rooms 
at  Chestnut  Cottage  had  not  thought  of  including  the 
garden  in  their  arrangements.  When  a  member  of 
the  Southey  household  asked  Harriet  if  it  was  let  with 
their  apartments,  she  replied,  "Oh,  no,  the  garden  is 
not  ours  ;  but  then,  you  know,  the  people  let  us  run 
about  in  it,  whenever  Percy  and  I  are  tired  of  sitting 
in  the  house." 

1  On  January  2,  1812. 


Shelley  in  England 

Bysshe  and  Harriet  were,  as  this  story  suggests,  in 
some  respects  still  rather  like  a  couple  of  overgrown 
children.  He  complained  rather  indignantly  of  his 
treatment  by  Mr.  Dare,  the  landlord  of  Chestnut 
Cottage,  and  remarked,  "  Strange  prejudices  have 
these  country  people."  Mr.  Dare  told  Bysshe  that 
he  was  not  satisfied  with  him,  because  the  country 
were  gossiping  very  strangely  of  his  proceedings. 
The  explanation  was  that  Bysshe  had  been  talking 
one  evening  to  Harriet  and  Eliza  about  the  nature  of 
the  atmosphere,  and  the  young  chemist  made  some 
experiments  with  hydrogen  gas,  the  flame  of  which 
was  vivid  enough  to  be  observed  at  some  distance. 
Mr.  Dare  was  unconvinced,  and  said,  "  I  am  very  ill 
satisfied  with  this.  Sir,  I  don't  like  to  talk  of  it.  I 
wish  you  to  provide  yourself  elsewhere."  Bysshe 
added  that  he  had  with  much  difficulty  quieted  his 
landlord's  fears.  "  He  does  not,  however,  much  like 
us,  and  I  am  by  no  means  certain  that  he  will  permit 
us  to  remain." 

Remembering  the  Duke  of  Norfolk's  friendly  inter- 
position in  the  spring,  when  he  tried  to  get  Bysshe 
to  take  up  politics,  he  wrote  before  he  left  York  to 
the  Duke  to  ask  him  to  intercede  on  his  behalf  with 
Mr.  Shelley  in  regard  to  his  marriage  and  his  allow- 
ance. He  also  put  in  a  word  on  behalf  of  Medwin, 
from  whom  he  had  borrowed  a  sum  of  money  to 


Married  Life 

enable  him  to  carry  off  Harriet  to  Edinburgh.  He 
had  heard  that  the  Horsham  lawyer  had  had  a 
rencontre  with  Mr.  Shelley,  who  disbelieved  that  he 
was  ignorant  of  the  purpose  for  which  Bysshe  had 
borrowed  the  money.  The  Duke  good-naturedly  wrote 
to  Mr.  Shelley  some  days  later,  as  he  noted  in  his  diary, 
that  he  would  go  to  Field  Place  "  to  confer  with  him 
on  the  unhappy  difference  with  his  son,  from  whom  I 
have  a  letter  before  me."  He  also  wrote  to  Bysshe 
to  say  that  he  would  "  be  glad  to  interfere  but  with 
little  hope  of  success,  fearing  that  his  father,  and 
not  he  alone,  will  see  his  late  conduct  in  a  different 
point  of  view  from  what  he  sees  it."  The  Duke 
fulfilled  his  promise  and  dined  with  Mr.  Shelley  at 
Horsham  on  November  10,  having  previously  written 
a  letter,  "  cordially  worded,"  inviting  Bysshe,  Harriet, 
and  Eliza  Westbrook  to  visit  him  at  Greystoke,  his 
place  in  Cumberland,  where  they  went  on  December  i 
for  a  few  days.  It  was  a  kindly  act  of  the  Duke  to 
receive  Bysshe  and  his  wife,  especially  as  it  served  to 
break  the  ice  with  Mr.  Shelley,  if  it  did  not  lead  to 
a  reconciliation  with  him. 

The  Duke  showed  much  friendliness  to  his  guests, 
was  "  quite  charmed "  with  Eliza  Westbrook,  and 
invited  several  people  to  meet  them,  including  William 
Calvert  of  Greta  Bank,  the  son  of  one  of  his  former 
stewards,  and  brother  of  Raisley  Calvert,  Words- 

Shelley   in   England 

worth's  generous  benefactor.  Shelley,  who  took  to 
Calvert,  wrote  of  him  as  "an  elderly  man  who 
seemed  to  know  all  my  concerns ;  and  the  expres- 
sion of  his  face,  whenever  I  held  the  arguments, 
which  I  do  everywhere,  was  such  as  I  shall  not  readily 
forget.  I  shall  have  more  to  tell  of  him,  for  we  have 
met  him  before  in  these  mountains,  and  his  particular 
look  then  struck  Harriet."  Before  he  left  the  Lake 
District,  Bysshe  received  much  kindness  from  Mr. 
Calvert,  with  whom  he  was  soon  on  terms  of  friendly 

Bysshe's  finances  were  now  in  a  bad  state,  and  he 
was  forced  to  think  of  ways  and  means.  Mr.  West- 
brook  had  sent  a  small  sum  of  money  to  his  daughter, 
but  with  an  intimation  that  no  more  was  to  be  ex- 
pected from  him,  and  it  was  almost  with  Bysshe's  last 
guinea  that  they  were  able  to  visit  the  Duke.  So 
Bysshe  wrote  to  Mr.  Medwin  for  advice  with  regard 
to  raising  some  money  on  his  expectations,  and  asked 
for  the  loan  of  a  small  sum  to  meet  his  immediate 
expenses.  He  said,  "  We  are  now  so  poor  as  to  be 
actually  in  danger  of  being  deprived  of  the  necessities 
of  life."  Medwin's  reply  to  these  inquiries  was  very 
likely  unsatisfactory  ;  the  result  of  the  visit  to  Grey- 
stoke  was  more  promising.  The  Duke  wrote  to  Mr. 
Shelley  himself,  and  advised  Bysshe  also  to  write  to 
his  father  and  ask  for  pardon.  The  two  following 


Married  Life 

letters  to  Timothy  Shelley  were  printed  by  Professor 
Dowden  in  his  Life  of  Shelley,'1  but  as  they  form  a  link 
in  Bysshe's  correspondence  with  his  father  at  this 
time,  no  excuse  is  made  for  reprinting  them. 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Timothy  Shelley 

Dec.  13,  1811. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  have  lately  returned  from  Grey- 
stoke,  where  I  had  been  invited  by  the  Duke  of  Norfolk 
that  he  might  speak  with  me  of  the  unhappy  differ- 
ences which  some  of  my  actions  have  occasioned. 
The  result  of  his  advice  was  that  I  should  write  a 
letter  to  you,  the  tone  of  whose  expression  should  be 
sorrow  that  I  should  have  wounded  the  feelings  of 
persons  so  nearly  connected  with  me.  Undoubtedly 
I  should  thus  express  the  real  sense  of  my  mind,  for 
when  convinced  of  my  error  no  one  is  more  ready  to 
own  that  conviction  than  myself,  nor  to  repair  any 
injuries  which  might  have  resulted  from  a  line  of 
conduct  which  I  had  pursued. 

On  my  expulsion  from  Oxford  you  were  so  good 
as  to  allow  me  £200  per  annum  ;  you  also  added 
a  promise  of  my  being  unrestrained  in  the  exercise  of 
the  completest  free  agency. 

In  consequence  of  this  last  I  married  a  young  lady 
whose  personal  character  is  unimpeachable.  This 
action  (admitting  it  to  be  done)  in  its  very  nature 
required  dissimulation,  much  as  I  may  regret  that 

1  These  letters  were  reprinted,  with  a  hitherto  unpublished  passage 
restored  to  that  of  December  23,  1812,  in  the  collected  edition  of  Shelley's 
Letters,  1909. 


Shelley  in  England 

I  had  condescended  to  employ  it.  My  allowance  was 
then  withdrawn  ;  I  was  left  without  money  four 
hundred  miles  from  one  being  I  knew,  every  day 
liable  to  be  exposed  to  the  severest  exile  of  penury. 
Surely  something  is  to  be  allowed  for  human  feelings, 
when  you  reflect  that  the  letters  you  then  received 
were  written  in  this  state  of  helplessness  and  derelic- 
tion. And  now  let  me  say  that  a  reconciliation  with 
you  is  a  thing  which  I  very  much  desire.  Accept  my 
apologies  for  the  uneasiness  which  I  have  occasioned  ; 
believe  that  my  wish  to  repair  any  uneasiness  is  firm 
and  sincere. 

I  regard  these  family  differences  as  a  very  great  evil, 
and  I  much  lament  that  I  should  in  any  wise  have 
been  instrumental  in  exciting  them. 

I  hope  you  will  not  consider  what  I  am  about  to 
say  an  insulting  want  of  respect  or  contempt,  but  I 
think  it  my  duty  to  say  that,  however  great  advantages 
might  result  from  such  concessions,  I  can  make  no 
promise  of  concealing  my  opinions  in  political  or 
religious  matters — I  should  consider  myself  culpable 
to  excite  any  expectation  in  your  mind  which  I 
should  be  unable  to  fulfil.  What  I  have  said  is  actu- 
ated by  the  sincerest  wish  of  being  again  upon  those 
terms  with  you  which  existed  some  time  since.  I 
have  not  employed  hypocrisy  to  heighten  the  regret 
which  I  feel  for  having  occasioned  uneasiness.  I 
have  not  employed  meanness  to  concede  what  I 
consider  it  my  duty  to  withhold.  Such  methods  as 
these  would  be  unworthy  of  us  both.  I  hope  you 
will  consider  what  I  have  said,  and  I  remain,  dear 
Father,  with  sincerest  wishes  for  our  perfect  right 
understanding,  yours  respectfully  and  affectionately, 


Married  Life 

Timothy  Shelley  to  P.  B.  Shelley 


Dec.  ig,  1811. 

DEAR  BYSSHE, — I  am  glad  the  visit  to  Greystoke 
Castle  and  the  Society  of  that  Nobleman,  from  whom 
I  have  experienced  the  kindest  Friendship,  has  had 
the  effect  on  your  mind,  to  be  con  vine 'd  of  the  errors 
you  have  fallen  into  towards  your  Parents. 

You  withdrew  yourself  from  my  Protection,  after 
having  promis'd  to  enter  into  some  Professional  line 
which  you  then  deem'd  the  choice  of  free  agency 
upon  an  allowance  of  £200  pr.  ann. 

I  hope  and  trust  everything  will  in  due  time  and 
proper  Probation  be  brought  to  an  excellent  work. 

I  never  can  admit  within  my  Family  of  the  Prin- 
ciples that  caus'd  your  expulsion  from  Oxford. — I 
remain,  &c.,  T.  S. 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Timothy  Shelley 

Dec.  23,  1811. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — Your  letter  which  arrived  last  night 
gave  me  much  pleasure.  I  hasten  to  acknowledge  it, 
and  to  express  my  satisfaction  that  you  should  no 
longer  regard  me  in  an  unfavourable  light. 

Mr.  Westbrook  at  present  allows  for  his  daughter's 
subsistence  £200  per  annum,  which  prevents  any 
situations  occurring  with  similar  unpleasantness  as 
that  at  Edinburgh. 

My  principles  still  remain  the  same  as  those  which 
caused  my  expulsion  from  Oxford.  When  questions 
which  regard  the  subject  are  agitated  in  society,  I 


Shelley  in  England 

explain  my  opinions  with  coolness  and  moderation. 
You  will  not,  I  hope,  object  to  my  train  of  thinking. 
I  could  disguise  it,  but  this  would  be  falsehood  and 

Believe  that  what  I  have  said  is  dictated  by  the 
sincerest  sentiments  of  respect. 

I  hope  I  shall  sometimes  have  the  pleasure  of  hear- 
ing from  you,  and  that  my  mother  and  sisters  are 
well.  Mr.  Whitton  opened  a  letter  addressed  to  the 
former.  I  know  not  what  may  be  the  precise  state 
of  that  affair  which  is  there  alluded  to,  but  I  cannot 
consider  myself  blameable  for  having  interfered. 

I  beg  my  love  to  my  mother  and  sisters,  and  remain, 
with  sentiments  of  respect,  your  affectionate  son, 


One  may  be  sure  that  Mr.  Westbrook's  allowance  of 
£200  a  year  was  a  godsend  to  the  tenants  of  Chestnut 
Cottage,  especially  as  it  paved  the  way  to  a  similar 
allowance  from  Mr.  Shelley.  But,  notwithstanding 
Bysshe's  straitened  means,  he  was  firm  in  his  con- 
victions as  to  the  iniquity  of  entails.  He  had  heard 
from  Captain  Pilfold,  so  he  wrote  to  Miss  Kitchener 
on  December  15,  of  a  "  meditated  proposal,"  on  the 
part  of  his  father  and  grandfather,  to  make  his  income 
immediately  larger  than  Mr.  Shelley's,  on  condition 
that  he  consented  to  entail  the  estate  on  his  eldest  son, 
and  in  default  of  male  issue  on  his  brother.1  "  Silly 

1  No  evidence  to  support  this  statement  has  been  discovered  in  the 
Shelley- Whitton  papers. 


Married  Life 

dotards  !  "  he  exclaimed  ;  "  do  they  think  I  can  be  thus 
bribed  and  ground  into  an  act  of  such  contemptible 
injustice  and  inutility,  that  I  will  forswear  my  prin- 
ciples in  consideration  of  £2000  a  year,  that  the  good- 
will I  could  thus  purchase,  or  the  ill-will  I  could  thus 
overbear,  would  recompense  me  for  the  loss  of  self- 
esteem,  of  conscious  rectitude  ?  And  with  what  face 
can  they  make  to  me  a  proposal  so  insultingly  hateful. 
Dare  one  of  them  propose  such  a  condition  to  my 
face — to  the  face  of  any  virtuous  man — and  not  sink 
into  nothing  at  his  disdain  ?  That  I  should  entail 
£120,000  of  command  over  labour,  of  power  to  remit 
this,  to  employ  it  for  beneficent  purposes,  on  one 
whom  I  know  not — who  might,  instead  of  being  the 
benefactor  of  mankind,  be  its  bane,  or  use  this  for 
the  worst  purposes,  which  the  real  delegate  of  my 
chance-given  property  might  convert  into  a  most 
useful  instrument  of  benevolence  !  No  !  this  you  will 
not  suspect  me  of.  What  I  have  told  you  will  serve  to 
put  in  its  genuine  light  the  grandeur  of  aristocratical 
distinctions,  and  to  show  that  contemptible  vanity 
will  gratify  its  unnatural  passion  at  the  expense  of 
every  just,  humane,  and  philanthropic  consideration  : 

"  Tho'  to  a  radiant  angel  linked, 
Will  sate  itself  in  a  celestial  bed, 
And  prey  on  garbage." 

Bysshe's  expressed  desire  for  a  reconciliation  with 


Shelley  in  England 

his  father  was  no  doubt  prompted  to  a  great  extent 
by  his  longing  to  see  his  sisters.  It  must  have  been 
a  great  blow  to  him  when  he  was  given  to  understand 
by  his  father's  last  letter  that,  so  long  as  he  enter- 
tained opinions  such  as  had  caused  his  expulsion  from 
Oxford,  he  could  not  expect  to  be  received  under  the 
paternal  roof.  Any  hope,  therefore,  of  seeing  his 
sisters  had  vanished,  for  a  time  at  least.  What 
Bysshe  wanted  to  know  was  whether  they  still  cared 
for  him,  or  whether  they  had  all  been  influenced  to 
consider  him  as  bad  as  he  appeared  in  his  father's 
eyes.  He  had  no  hopes  of  Elizabeth,  who  had  ceased 
to  be  one  of  the  faithful,  and  he  had  realised  now 
for  some  time  that  she  had  gone  over  to  the  enemy's 
side.  But  his  little  sister  Hellen  was  otherwise ; 
she  who  had  befriended  her  schoolfellow,  Harriet 
Westbrook,  when  none  of  the  other  girls  at  the 
school  would  speak  to  her,  she,  he  thought,  might 
be  counted  on  to  send  some  proof  of  affection  for 
her  outcast  brother.  Bysshe  therefore  wrote  to 
Hellen,  and,  bearing  in  mind  his  father's  vigilance 
in  intercepting  letters,  he  enclosed  it  in  a  note 
to  his  grandfather's  huntsman,  Allen  Etheridge, 
who  lived  at  Horsham ;  consequently  his  corre- 
spondence would  not,  as  he  thought,  be  liable  to 
his  father's  inspection. 


Married  Life 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Allen  Etheridge 


[Postmark  :  KESWICK, 

Dec.  16,  1811]. 

DEAR  ALLEN, — As  I  think  my  Sisters  are  now  at 
Field  Place,  I  have  enclosed  you  this  letter.  Put  it 
into  the  Summer  House  at  Field  Place  when  no  one 
sees  you  ;  and  when  you  have  put  it  there,  contrive 
to  let  Hellen  know  that  there  is  a  letter  for  her  there  : 
contrive  to  let  Hellen  know,  without  letting  anyone 
else  know.  This  you  had  better  manage  by  letting 
one  of  your  little  boys  watch  when  she  is  alone,  and 
tell  her.  But  use  your  own  discretion  if  you  do  not 
think  this  the  best  way.  Remember,  Allen,  that  I 
shall  not  forget  you.  How  is  your  family  going  on  ? 
I  hope  they  enjoy  better  health. — Yours,  &c. 


In  the  fold  of  the  letter  is  written : 

Do  not  let  yourself  be  seen  in  it. 

[Addressed  in  a  disguised  handwriting] : 

Huntsman  to  Sir  B.  Shelly,  [sic] 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Hellen  Shelley 

[Dec.  1 6,  1811.] 

MY  DEAR  HELLEN, — "Shew  this  letter  to  no  one." 
You  remember  that  you  once  told  me  that  you  loved 
me.  .  .  If  you  really  love  me,  shew  this  letter  to  no 

369  2  A 

Shelley  in   England 

one,  but  answer  it  as  you  can.     Remember  this  is  the 
only  proof  I  can  now  have  that  you  do  love  me. 

We  are  now  at  a  great  distance  from  each  other, 
or  at  least  we  shall  be :  but  that  is  no  reason  that  I 
should  forget  that  I  am  your  brother,  or  you  should 
forget  that  you  are  my  sister.  Everybody  near  you 
says  that  I  have  behaved  very  ill,  and  that  I  can  love 
no  one. 

But  how  do  you  know  that  everything  that  is  told 
you  is  true  ?  A  great  many  people  tell  a  great  many 
lies,  and  believe  them,  but  that  is  no  reason  that  you 
are  to  believe  them.  Because  everybody  else  hates 
me,  that  is  no  reason  that  you  should.  Think  for 
yourself,  my  dear  girl,  and  write  to  me  to  tell  me 
what  you  think.  Where  you  are  now,  you  cannot  do 
as  you  please — you  are  obliged  to  submit  to  other 
people.  They  will  not  let  you  walk  and  read  and 
think  (if  they  knew  your  thoughts)  just  as  you  like, 
though  you  have  as  good  a  right  to  do  it  as  they. 
But  if  you  were  with  me,  you  would  be  with  someone 
who  loved  you ;  you  might  run  and  skip,  read,  write, 
think  just  as  you  liked.  Then,  though  you  cannot 
now  be  with  me,  you  can  write,  you  can  tell  me 
what  you  think,  and  how  you  get  on,  on  paper.  Per- 
haps you  cannot  get  a  pen  and  ink,  but  you  can  get 
pencil,  and  this  will  do ;  and  as  nobody  can  suspect 
you,  you  may  easily  write,  and  put  your  letter  into  the 
Summer  House,  where  I  shall  be  sure  to  get  it.  I 
watch  over  you,  though  you  do  not  think  I  am  near. 

I  need  not  tell  you  how  I  love  you.  I  know  all 
that  is  said  of  me,  but  do  not  you  believe  it.  You 
will  perhaps  think  I'm  the  Devil,  but,  no,  I  am  only 
your  brother,  who  is  obliged  to  be  put  to  these  shifts 
to  get  a  letter  from  you. 


Married   Life 

How  do  you  get  on  with  your  poetry,  and  what 
books  do  you  read,  for  you  know  how  anxious  I  am 
that  you  should  improve  in  every  way,  though  I 
don't  think  music  or  dancing  of  much  consequence  ? 
Thinking,  and  thinking  without  letting  anything  but 
reason  influence  your  mind,  is  the  great  thing.  Some 
people  would  tell  you  that  it  would  be  wrong  to  write 
to  me  ;  but  how  do  you  know  it  is  ?  They  do  not 
tell  you  why  it  is  wrong.  They  would  scold  you  for 
it,  but  this  would  not  make  it  wrong.  Let  no  one 
find  out  that  I  have  written  to  you.  Read  this  letter 
when  no  one  sees  you,  and  with  attention.  I  have  not 
written  to  Mary,  because  I  know  that  she  is  not  firm 
and  determined  like  you  ;  but  if  you  think  that  she 
would  not  tell,  give  my  love  to  her,  and  tell  her  to  write 
to  me. 

I  shall  not  say  any  more  now.  Write,  and  leave 
your  letter  in  the  Summer  House.  I  shall  be  sure  to 
get  it  if  you  go  there  alone  and  leave  it. — Your  very 
affectionate  and  true  brother, 


[Endorsed  in  disguised  handwriting]  : 
(Open  this  when  alone), 


[Further  endorsement  in  Sir  Timothy's  handwriting :] 
In  Dec.,  1811,  enclosed. 

This  pathetic  appeal  shared  the  fate  of  Bysshe's 
other  letters  to  his  family.  Etheridge  apparently 
took  both  of  these  epistles,  dutiful  servant  that  he 
was,  to  Mr.  Shelley,  who  promptly  sent  them  to  his 
faithful  Whitton. 

Shelley  in  England 

Bysshe  in  the  meantime  remained  at  Keswick, 
but  by  the  middle  of  December  he  was  contemplat- 
ing a  visit  from  Miss  Kitchener  (which  did  not  take 
place),  and  after  it  he  was  thinking  of  going  to  Ireland. 

The  year  1811,  a  fateful  one  in  Bysshe's  life,  came 
to  a  close  without  any  other  noteworthy  events. 
But  in  the  early  days  of  1812,  on  January  3,  he 
addressed  his  first  letter  to  William  Godwin,  and, 
compared  with  this,  no  act  in  Shelley's  career  was 
more  portentous.  Shelley  was  not  twenty,  Godwin 
was  nearly  fifty-six,  when  this  correspondence  began. 
The  younger  man  wrote  without  any  introduction, 
having  but  recently  learned  that  Godwin  was  still 
living.  He  approached  him  much  as  a  neophyte 
might  approach  his  favourite  saint,  whom  he  had 
found  to  be  living  after  having  venerated  him  as  one 
of  the  dead.  '  The  name  of  Godwin,"  he  said,  "has 
been  used  to  excite  in  me  feelings  of  reverence  and 
admiration.  I  have  been  accustomed  to  consider 
him  a  luminary  too  dazzling  for  the  darkness  which 
surrounds  him.  From  the  earliest  period  of  my 
knowledge  of  his  principles,  I  have  ardently  desired 
to  share,  on  the  footing  of  intimacy,  that  intellect 
which  I  have  delighted  to  contemplate  in  its  emana- 
tions. Considering,  then,  these  feelings,  you  will 
not  be  surprised  at  the  inconceivable  emotions  with 


Married  Life 

which  I  learned  your  existence  and  your  dwelling.  I 
had  enrolled  your  name  in  the  list  of  the  honourable 
dead.  I  had  felt  regret  that  the  glory  of  your  being 
had  passed  from  this  earth  of  ours.  It  is  not  so  ; 
you  still  live,  and,  I  firmly  believe,  are  still  planning 
the  welfare  of  human  kind."  Bysshe  went  on  to  tell 
Godwin  that  his  "  course  had  been  short,  but  event- 
ful " — which  was  certainly  true — that  he  was  young 
and  ardent  in  the  cause  of  philanthropy  and  truth. 
In  short,  he  begged  the  philosopher  to  answer  his 
letter  and  to  think  him  not  unworthy  of  his  friend- 
ship, or,  in  other  words,  to  allow  him  to  sit  at  his  feet. 

Godwin's  reply  was  not  discouraging,  but  he  com- 
plained of  the  generalising  character  of  Shelley's 
letter.  So  Shelley  wrote  again  at  length  on  January 
10,  and  gave  some  particulars  of  his  life,  his  attempts 
at  authorship,  his  opinions,  and  his  expulsion  from 
Oxford.  Some  references  to  his  father  are  interesting, 
as  showing  how  he  viewed  him  at  this  time.  "  I  am 
the  son  of  a  man  of  fortune  in  Sussex.  The  habits 
and  thinking  of  my  father  and  myself  never  coincided. 
Passive  obedience  was  inculcated  and  enforced  in 
my  childhood.  I  was  required  to  love,  because  it  was 
my  duty  to  love.  It  is  scarcely  necessary  to  remark  that 
coercion  obviated  its  own  intention.  ...  It  will  be 
necessary,  in  order  to  elucidate  this  part  of  my  history, 
to  inform  you  that  I  am  heir  by  entail  to  an  estate 


Shelley  in  England 

of  £6000  per  annum.  My  principles  have  induced 
me  to  regard  the  law  of  primogeniture  an  evil  of 
primary  magnitude.  My  father's  notions  of  family 
honour  are  incoincident  with  my  knowledge  of  public 
good.  I  will  never  sacrifice  the  latter  to  any  con- 
sideration. My  father  has  ever  regarded  me  as  a  blot, 
a  defilement  of  his  honour.  He  wished  to  induce  me, 
by  poverty,  to  accept  of  some  commission  in  a  distant 
regiment,  and  in  the  interim  of  my  absence  to  prosecute 
the  pamphlet,  that  a  process  of  outlawry  might  make  the 
estate,  on  his  death,  devolve  to  my  younger  brother." 
It  is  hard  to  believe  or,  indeed,  explain  the  state- 
ment in  this  last  sentence.  Perhaps,  when  Mr. 
Shelley  had  failed  to  induce  Bysshe,  after  he  was 
expelled  from  Oxford,  to  engage  in  politics,  he  had 
expressed,  in  desperation,  either  to  him  or  to  someone 
else  the  wish  that  he  should  go  into  the  army.  Most 
likely  it  was  no  more  than  a  fragment  of  wild  talk  on 
the  part  of  Timothy  Shelley  that  had  been  retailed  to 
his  son.1  Godwin  now  expressed  "  a  deep  and  earnest 

1  "  You  mistake  me  if  you  think  that  I  am  angry  with  my  father.  I 
have  ever  been  desirous  of  a  reconciliation  with  him,  but  the  price  which  he 
demands  for  it  is  a  renunciation  of  my  opinions,  or,  at  least,  a  subjection  to 
conditions  which  should  bind  me  to  act  in  opposition  to  their  very  spirit. 
It  is  probable  that  my  father  has  acted  for  my  welfare,  but  the  manner  in 
which  he  has  done  so  will  not  allow  me  to  suppose  that  he  has  felt  for  it, 
unconnectedly,  with  certain  considerations  of  birth  ;  and  feeling  for  these 
things  was  not  feeling  for  me.  I  never  loved  my  father — it  was  not  from 
hardness  of  heart,  for  I  have  loved  and  do  love  warmly." — Shelley  to 
Godwin,  Keswick,  January  16,  1812. 


Married   Life 

interest  in  the  welfare  "  of  his  young  correspondent, 
whose  letters  to  the  philosopher  continued  at  frequent 

During  the  past  few  years  Shelley  had  been  an 
enthusiastic  student  of  Godwin's  great  work,  of  the 
essays  in  The  Enquirer,  and  of  his  novels.  The 
earliest  of  these  books  had  been  published  when 
Shelley  was  in  his  cradle ;  the  most  recent  were  some 
years  old.  It  was  therefore  not  surprising  that  he 
had  put  Godwin  down  "in  the  list  of  the  honourable 

It  was  more  than  fourteen  years  since  William 
Godwin  had  lost  his  first  wife,  Mary  Wollstonecraft, 
and  eighteen  years  had  elapsed  since  he  had  given 
to  the  world  his  Enquiry  concerning  Political  Jus- 
tice and  its  Influence  on  General  Virtue  and  Happi- 
ness, the  book  that  had  brought  him  fame,  but  no 
fortune.  Godwin  had  for  some  years  retired  from 
the  excitement  of  a  publicist's  career,  had  married  a 
second  time,  and  was  living  the  life  of  a  philosopher, 
in  retreat  at  Skinner  Street,  Holborn  Hill,  where  the 
Viaduct  now  stands.  His  energies  were  divided  be- 
tween writing  novels  and  producing  books  for  a  small 
publishing  business  known  as  the  "  Juvenile  Library," 
of  which  his  wife,  Mary  Jane  Godwin,  was  manager. 
Charles  and  Mary  Lamb  were  Godwin's  friends  and 
the  chief  authors  of  the  Juvenile  Library,  in  which 


Shelley  in  England 

their  Tales  from  Shakespeare,  Mrs.  Leicester's  School, 
and  Lamb's  Adventures  of  Ulysses  had  first  been  pub- 
lished. Hazlitt  had  written  for  the  Library  an  English 
Grammar,  and  Godwin  himself  compiled,  under  the 
name  of  "  William  Baldwin,  Esq.,"  a  few  educational 
books.  The  publications  of  the  Juvenile  Library 
sold  well,  and  the  business  ought  to  have  been  suc- 
cessful ;  but  Godwin  and  his  wife  were  hopeless 
muddlers,  and  the  enterprise  only  launched  them 
heavily  into  debt. 

The  Godwin  household  was  a  strangely  miscellane- 
ous one.  There  was  (i)  Godwin,  whose  philosophical 
calm  remained  unruffled  notwithstanding  the  steadily 
rising  waters  of  a  flood  of  debts  ;  (2)  Mrs.  Godwin, 
a  malevolent  woman  with  a  shrewish  tongue,  and  the 
especial  abomination  of  Charles  Lamb,  who  has  im- 
mortalised her  green  spectacles.  Then  there  was  (3) 
Mary,  the  daughter  of  Godwin  and  Mary  Wollstone- 
craft ;  (4)  Fanny  Imlay  (or  Godwin,  as  she  was  called), 
the  daughter  of  Mary  Wollstonecraft  and  Imlay ;  Mrs. 
Godwin's  two  children  by  her  first  husband — (5)  Clara 
Mary  Jane,  and  (6)  Charles  Clairmont ;  and,  lastly, 
William  Godwin's  son  (7),  William,  by  his  second  wife. 
It  is  not  surprising  that  such  a  mixed  family,  confined 
to  the  narrow  quarters  over  the  shop  in  Skinner 
Street,  found  it  at  times  difficult  to  live  together  in 
harmony.  Things  undoubtedly  would  have  gone  more 


Married  Life 

smoothly  but  for  the  disturbing  element  of  Mrs. 

During  January  Bysshe  was  preparing  for  his  visit 
to  Ireland,  his  object  being,  as  he  told  Godwin,  "  prin- 
cipally to  forward  as  much  as  we  can  the  Catholic 
Emancipation  "  ;  he  also  intended  to  urge  the  neces- 
sity of  repealing  the  Union.  The  last  week  at  Keswick 
was  spent  under  the  roof  of  William  Calvert,  who, 
like  Southey,  did  his  best  to  dissuade  Shelley  from 
his  proposed  Irish  campaign ;  but  Mrs.  Calvert 
favoured  the  idea,  and  was  hearty  in  her  wishes  for 
the  success  of  Shelley  and  his  party.  He  was  himself 
sure  of  success,  and  expressed  perfect  confidence  in 
the  impossibility  of  failure.1 

Mr.  Shelley  had  now  arranged  for  the  resumption 
of  his  son's  allowance,  which,  with  a  similar  sum  from 
Mr.  Westbrook,  was  sufficient  for  Bysshe's  needs. 
On  receiving  the  sum  of  £100  from  Whitton  he  was 
ready  to  start  for  Dublin,  and,  with  Harriet  and  Eliza 
Westbrook,  he  probably  left  Keswick  on  Sunday, 
February  3,  and  embarked  from  Whitehaven  for  the 
Isle  of  Man.  After  being  driven  from  thence  by  a 
storm  to  the  north  of  Ireland,  they  reached  Dublin 
on  the  night  of  February  13.  Shelley  had  written 
while  at  Keswick  An  Address  to  the  Irish  People, 
which  he  printed  soon  after  he  arrived  at  Dublin, 

1  Shelley  to  Miss  Hitchener,  January  26,  1812. 


Shelley  in   England 

and  he  fixed  the  price  of  the  pamphlet  at  fivepence, 
"  because,"  as  he  said  in  the  advertisement,  "it  is 
the  intention  of  the  Author  to  awaken  in  the  minds 
of  the  Irish  poor  a  knowledge  of  their  real  state, 
summarily  pointing  out  the  evils  of  that  state,  and 
suggesting  rational  means  of  remedy — Catholic  Eman- 
cipation and  a  Repeal  of  the  Union  Act  (the  latter, 
the  most  successful  engine  that  England  ever  wielded 
over  the  misery  of  fallen  Ireland)  being  treated  of,  in 
the  following  Address,  as  grievances  which  unanimity 
and  resolution  may  remove,  and  associations,  con- 
ducted with  peaceable  firmness,  being  earnestly  re- 
commended, as  means  for  embodying  that  unanimity 
and  firmness,  which  must  finally  be  successful."  As 
soon  as  it  was  printed,  Bysshe  threw  copies  of  this 
pamphlet  from  the  balcony  of  his  lodgings  in  Lower 
Sackville  Street.  "  I  stand  at  the  balcony  of  our 
window,  and  watch  till  I  see  a  man  who  looks  likely — 
I  throw  a  book  to  him."  Harriet  wrote  to  Miss 
Kitchener  :  "I'm  sure  you  would  laugh  were  you  to 
see  us  give  the  pamphlets.  We  throw  them  out  of 
the  window,  and  give  them  to  men  that  we  pass  in 
the  streets.  For  myself,  I  am  ready  to  die  of  laughter 
when  it  is  done,  and  Percy  looks  so  grave  ;  yesterday 
he  put  one  into  a  woman's  hood  of  a  cloak.  She 
knew  nothing  of  it,  and  we  passed  her.  I  could 
hardly  get  on  ;  my  muscles  were  so  irritated." 


Married   Life 

Bysshe  sent  a  copy  of  the  Address  to  Godwin 
through  the  post  as  a  newspaper,  "to  save  expense," 
as  he  said.  It  was  charged  as  a  letter,  and  the  re- 
cipient had  to  pay  a  fine  of  £i,  is.  Sd.,  which  he  did 
philosophically.  Others  who  suffered  by  Shelley's 
mode  of  conveying  the  pamphlet  were  Mr.  Westbrook 
and  Miss  Kitchener.  Perhaps  Mr.  Shelley  was  also 
a  victim,  as  there  is  a  copy  of  the  Address  among 
the  Shelley-Whitton  papers,  with  corrections  in  the 
author's  hand. 

Shelley  wrote  and  printed  another  pamphlet,  in 
the  midst  of  much  other  activity,  while  in  Dublin, 
with  the  following  comprehensive  title,  "Proposals 
for  an  Association  of  those  Philanthropists  who,  con- 
vinced of  the  inadequacy  of  the  moral  and  political 
state  of  Ireland  to  produce  benefits  which  are  never- 
theless attainable,  are  willing  to  unite  to  accomplish 
its  regeneration." 

Among  the  Shelley-Whitton  papers  there  is  a  copy 
of  the  Dublin  Weekly  Messenger  for  Saturday,  March  7, 
1812,  with  the  following  article,  marked  in  red  pencil, 
headed : 

"  Pierce  By  she  Shelly,  Esq.  [sic] 

"The  highly  interesting  appearance  of  this  young 
gentleman  at  the  late  Aggregate  Meeting  of  the 
Catholics  of  Ireland  has  naturally  excited  a  spirit  of 
inquiry  as  to  his  objects  and  views  in  coming  forward 


Shelley  in  England 

at  such  a  meeting  ;  and  the  publications  which  he 
has  circulated  with  such  uncommon  industry,  through 
the  Metropolis,  has  set  curiosity  on  the  wing  to  ascer- 
tain who  he  is,  from  whence  he  comes,  and  what  his 
pretensions  are  to  the  confidence  he  solicits  and  the 
character  he  assumes.  To  those  who  have  read  the 
productions  we  have  alluded  to,  we  need  bring  for- 
ward no  evidence  of  the  cultivation  of  his  mind, 
the  benignity  of  his  principles,  or  the  peculiar  fasci- 
nation with  which  he  seems  able  to  recommend 

"  Of  this  gentleman's  family  we  can  say  but  little, 
but  we  can  set  down  what  we  have  heard  from  re- 
spectable authority :  that  his  father  is  a  member  of 
the  Imperial  Parliament,  and  that  this  young  gentle- 
man whom  we  have  seen  is  the  immediate  heir  of  one 
of  the  first  fortunes  in  England.  Of  his  principles 
and  his  manners  we  can  say  more,  because  we  can 
collect  from  conversation,  as  well  as  from  reading, 
that  he  seems  devoted  to  the  propagation  of  those 
divine  and  Christian  feelings  which  purify  the  human 
heart,  give  shelter  to  the  poor  and  consolation  to 
the  unfortunate :  that  he  is  the  bold  and  intrepid 
advocate  of  those  principles  which  are  calculated  to 
give  energy  to  truth,  and  to  depose  from  their  guilty 
eminence  the  bad  and  vicious  passions  of  a  corrupt 
community ;  that  a  universality  of  charity  is  his 
object,  and  a  perfectibility  of  human  society  his  end, 
which  cannot  be  attained  by  the  conflicting  dogmas  of 
religious  sects,  each  priding  itself  on  the  extinction  of 
the  other,  and  all  existing  by  the  mutual  misfortunes 
which  flow  from  polemical  warfare.  The  principles 
of  this  young  gentleman  embrace  all  sects  and  all 
persuasions.  His  doctrines,  political  and  religious, 


Married  Life 

may  be  accommodated  to  all;  every  friend  to  true 
Christianity  will  be  his  religious  friend,  and  every 
enemy  to  the  liberties  of  Ireland  will  be  his  political 
enemy.  The  weapons  he  wields  are  those  of  reason 
and  the  most  social  benevolence.  He  deprecates  vio- 
lence in  the  accomplishment  of  his  views,  and  relies 
upon  the  mild  and  merciful  spirit  of  toleration  for 
the  completion  of  all  his  designs  and  the  consumma- 
tion of  all  his  wishes.  To  the  religious  bigot  such  a 
missionary  of  truth  is  a  formidable  opponent ;  by  the 
political  monopolist  he  will  be  considered  the  child  of 
Chimera,  the  creature  of  fancy,  an  imaginary  legis- 
lator who  presumes  to  make  laws  without  reflecting 
upon  his  materials,  and  despises  those  considerations 
which  have  baffled  the  hopes  of  the  most  philanthropic 
and  the  efforts  of  the  most  wise.  It  is  true,  human 
nature  may  be  too  depraved  for  such  a  hand  as  Mr. 
Shelly's  to  form  to  anything  that  is  good,  or  liberal, 
or  beneficent.  Let  him  but  take  down  one  of  the 
rotten  pillars  by  which  society  is  now  propped,  and 
substitute  the  purity  of  his  own  principles,  and  Mr. 
Shelly  shall  have  done  a  great  and  lasting  service  to 
human  nature.  To  this  gentleman  Ireland  is  much 
indebted  for  selecting  her  as  the  theatre  of  his  first 
attempts  in  this  holy  work  of  human  regeneration. 
The  Catholics  in  Ireland  should  listen  to  him  with 
respect,  because  they  will  find  that  an  enlightened 
Englishman  has  interposed  between  the  treason  of 
their  own  countrymen  and  the  almost  conquered 
spirit  of  their  country  ;  that  Mr.  Shelly  has  come 
to  Ireland  to  demonstrate  in  his  person  that  there 
are  hearts  in  his  own  country  not  rendered  callous  by 
six  hundred  years  of  injustice  ;  and  that  the  genius 
of  freedom,  which  has  communicated  comfort  and 


Shelley  in   England 

content  to  the  cottage  of  the  Englishman,  has  found 
its  way  to  the  humble  roof  of  the  Irish  peasant,  and 
promises  by  its  presence  to  dissipate  the  sorrows  of 
past  ages,  to  obliterate  the  remembrance  of  persecu- 
tion, and  close  the  long  and  wearisome  scene  of  cen- 
turies of  human  depression.  We  extract  from  Mr. 
Shelly's  last  production,  which  he  calls  Proposals 
for  an  Association,  &c.  &c" 

After  quoting  some  extracts  from  this  pamphlet,  the 
writer  continues : 

"  We  have  but  one  more  word  to  add.  Mr.  Shelly, 
commiserating  the  sufferings  of  our  distinguished 
countryman,  Mr.  Finerty,  whose  exertions  in  the  cause 
of  political  freedom  he  much  admired,  wrote  a  very 
beautiful  poem,  the  profits  of  which,  we  understand 
from  undoubted  authority,  Mr.  Shelly  remitted  to  Mr. 
Finerty  ;  we  have  heard  they  amounted  to  nearly 
a  hundred  pounds.  This  fact  speaks  a  volume  in 
favour  of  our  new  friend."  * 

Perhaps  the  reason  for  the  copy  of  this  paper  being 
among  Whitton's  papers  is  that  it  may  have  been  sent 
to  Mr.  Shelley  by  Bysshe.  The  proceedings  of  the 
meeting  which  took  place  on  Friday,  February  28, 
at  the  Fishamble  Street  Theatre  were  noticed  in 
several  Irish  papers  and  in  the  London  Morning 
Chronicle,  which  said  the  theatre  "  was  brilliantly 
illuminated.  .  .  .  The  boxes  were  filled  with  ladies, 

1  See  an/e,  p.  150. 

Married  Life 

full  dressed,  and  the  whole  is  represented  as  having  a 
very  imposing  effect."  The  articles  from  the  Weekly 
Messenger,  and  reports  from  other  Dublin  papers,  are 
given  in  the  late  Mr.  D.  F.  MacCarthy's  work,  Shelley's 
Early  Life,  which  contains  a  full  account  of  the  Irish 

Another  reference  to  Shelley's  doings  in  Ireland, 
preserved  with  the  Shelley-Whitton  papers,  is  the 
following  cutting  from  a  Lewes  newspaper,  on  which 
Mr.  Shelley  wrote,  "  Lewes  Paper,  ist  June,  1812." 
Apparently  it  relates  to  the  Address  to  the  Irish  People, 
and  it  was  perhaps  forwarded  to  the  editor  by  Miss 
Kitchener,  as  Shelley  wrote  to  her  on  March  10,  "  Send 
me  the  Sussex  papers.  Insert,  or  make  them  insert, 
the  account  of  me.  It  may  have  a  good  effect  on  the 
minds  of  the  people,  as  a  preparation."  Harriet  adds 
in  her  contribution  to  the  same  letter,  "  Send  us  the 
paper  in  which  you  have  inserted  the  Address" 

The  editor  of  the  Lewes  paper,  however,  did  not 
take  kindly  to  the  suggestion,  and  declined  to  fill  his 
columns  with  Shelley's  pamphlet.  He  said : 

"  We  have  been  favoured  with  the  address  of 
P.  B.  S.,  Esq.,  and  entertain  no  doubt  of  his  benevo- 
lent and  humane  intentions.  Nevertheless,  after  due 
consideration,  we  are  of  opinion  that  any  especial 
notice  of  the  accompanying  letter  would  have  a  ten- 
dency to  defeat  the  ends  he  has  in  view,  as  a  public 
exposure  of  the  accused  parties,  however  just,  might 


Shelley  in  England 

irritate  their  minds  and  lead  them  to  direct,  with 
greater  severity,  the  lash  of  tyranny  and  oppres- 
sion against  the  object  of  his  commiseration,  who 
appears  to  be  completely  within  their  power." 

Shelley  was  evidently  anxious  that  his  friends  in 
Sussex  should  hear  of  his  activities  in  Ireland.  He 
wrote  on  March  20  to  the  elder  Medwin  :  "As  you  will 
see  by  the  Lewes  paper,  I  am  in  the  midst  of  over- 
whelming engagements."  The  news  had  already 
reached  Field  Place  if  he  sent  his  father  the  copy  of  his 
pamphlet,  and  Whitton  had  probably  received  it  when 
he  wrote  to  Sir  Bysshe  on  March  5 :  "I  was  much 
concerned  to  hear  your  account  of  Mr.  Timothy 
Shelley  [who  was  evidently  ill] .  His  son  is  in  Dublin, 
publishing  some  hints  for  bettering  the  state  of  the 

Shelley  spent  a  part  of  his  time  in  preparing  a 
volume  of  poems  for  the  press  and  in  endeavouring 
to  get  them  published,  but  the  Dublin  publisher  to 
whom  he  applied  held  up  the  MS.,  and  the  book  was 
never  printed  during  the  author's  lifetime.  Some 
seventy  years  later,  Shelley's  grandson,  Mr.  Charles 
Esdaile,  who  subsequently  owned  the  MS.,  allowed 
Professor  Dowden  to  print  extracts  from  the  poems 
in  his  Life  of  Shelley. 

Shelley  also  managed  to  make  some  acquaintances 
during  his  sojourn  in  the  Irish  capital,  one  of  whom 


Married  Life 

was  John  Lawless,  or  "  honest  Jack  Lawless,"  as  he 
was  called  by  his  friends,  who  was  perhaps  responsible 
for  the  article  on  the  young  politician  in  the  Weekly 
Messenger.  Curran  was  another,  and  a  greater,  Irish- 
man whom  he  met  through  the  introduction  of  Godwin. 

Godwin,  indeed,  who  was  never  long  out  of  Shelley's 
mind,  was  the  recipient  of  many  letters  which  kept 
him  posted  with  intelligence  concerning  the  progress 
of  the  campaign.  Shelley,  moreover,  acquainted 
Godwin  with  his  opinions  generally,  his  views  on  life, 
and  the  doings  of  his  domestic  circle. 

'  You  speak  of  my  wife,"  he  said  ;  "  she  desires  with 
me  to  you,  and  to  all  connected  with  you,  her  best 
regards.  She  is  a  woman  whose  pursuits,  hopes, 
fears,  and  sorrows  were  so  similar  to  my  own  that  we 
married  a  few  months  ago.  I  hope  in  the  course  of 
this  year  to  introduce  her  to  you  and  yours,  as  I  have 
introduced  myself  to  you.  It  is  only  to  those  who 
have  had  some  share  in  making  me  what  I  am  that  I 
can  be  thus  free.  Adieu  !  You  will  hear  from  me 
shortly.  Give  my  love  and  respects  to  everyone 
with  whom  you  are  connected.  I  feel  myself  almost 
at  your  fireside.  .  .  .  I  send  the  little  book  for  which 
I  was  expelled.  I  have  not  changed  my  sentiments. 
I  know  that  Milton  believed  Christianity,  but  I  do 
not  forget  that  Virgil  believed  ancient  mythology." 

Godwin  told  Shelley  that  he  had  read  his  letters 

385  2B 

Shelley  in  England 

("  the  first  perhaps  excepted  ")  "  with  peculiar  inte- 
rest." As  far  as  he  had  been  able  to  penetrate  his 
character,  he  conceived  "it  to  exhibit  an  extra- 
ordinary assemblage  of  lovely  qualities,  not  without 
considerable  defects."  The  source  of  the  defects,  he 
thought,  was  that  Shelley  was  very  young,  and  that, 
in  essential  respects,  he  did  not  sufficiently  perceive 
that  he  was  so.  Godwin  expressed  his  disagreement 
with  the  principles  set  forth  by  Shelley  in  his  pam- 
phlets as  strongly  as  he  disapproved  of  his  visit  to 
Ireland,  and  he  regretted  that  the  effect  of  Political 
Justice  on  his  young  friend  should  have  resulted  in 
his  campaign.  He  said,  "  Shelley,  you  are  preparing 
a  scene  of  blood  !  If  your  associations  take  effect  to 
any  extensive  degree,  tremendous  consequences  will 
follow,  and  hundreds,  by  their  calamitous  and  pre- 
mature fate,  will  expiate  your  error."  Godwin  con- 
tinued, "  I  wish  to  my  heart  you  would  come  im- 
mediately to  London.  I  have  a  friend  who  has  con- 
trived a  tube  to  convey  passengers  sixty  miles  an 
hour.  Be  youth  your  tube  !  I  have  a  thousand  things 
I  could  say  orally,  more  than  I  can  say  in  a  letter 
on  this  important  subject.  Away  !  You  cannot 
imagine  how  much  all  the  females  of  my  family, 
Mrs.  G.  and  three  daughters,  are  interested  in  your 
letters  and  history." 

Shelley  was  either  tired  of  his  Irish  expedition,  or, 

Married  Life 

as  he  told  Godwin,  he  was  ready  to  take  the  advice 
of  his  guide,  philosopher,  and  friend — to  whom  he 
wrote  on  March  19  that  he  had  already  withdrawn 
the  circulation  of  his  publications  wherein  he  had 
erred,  and  that  he  was  preparing  to  quit  Dublin. 

The  Shelleys  left  Dublin  on  April  4,  and  after  a 
rough  passage  of  thirty-six  hours  (instead  of  twelve, 
as  they  had  expected)  they  reached  Holyhead.  On 
April  7  they  began  a  journey  across  Wales  in  search 
of  a  house,  and  their  wanderings  led  them  to  Nant- 
gwillt,  Rhayader,  Radnorshire,  in  South  Wales,  a 
district  already  familiar  to  Shelley  through  his  visit 
to  his  cousins,  the  Groves.  The  place  that  he  settled 
in  was  a  farm  of  about  200  acres,  with  a  good  house, 
at  a  yearly  rent  of  £98,  which  he  thought  "  abundantly 
cheap/'  and  so  it  may  have  been,  had  he  intended  to 
turn  farmer  and  live  up  to  the  description  which  he 
had  given  himself  when  he  was  married  at  Edinburgh. 
The  proprietor  of  the  house  was  a  bankrupt,  and  his 
assignees  had  offered  the  lease,  stock,  and  furniture 
of  the  premises  to  Shelley,  who  was  "anxious  to 
purchase."  So  anxious  was  he  to  take  advantage  of 
this  offer  that  he  wrote  on  April  25  to  Medwin  that 
the  assignees  were  willing  to  give  him  credit  for 
eighteen  months  or  longer,  as  his  being  a  minor  his 
signature  was  invalid.  "  Would  you  object  to  join 
your  name  to  my  bond,  or,  rather,  to  pledge  yourself 


Shelley   in  England 

for  my  standing  by  the  agreement  when  I  come  of 
age  ?  The  sum  is  likely  to  be  six  or  seven  hundred 
pounds."  The  Horsham  lawyer  no  doubt  refused, 
as  he  had  already  made  enough  trouble  for  himself 
with  Mr.  Shelley  by  lending  Bysshe  money  on  the 
eve  of  his  departure  for  Edinburgh.  The  day  before 
writing  this  letter  to  Medwin  he  had  sent  the  following 
to  his  father : 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Timothy  Shelley 

April  24,  1812. 

DEAR  SIR, — The  last  of  your  communications 
through  Mr.  Whitton  put  a  period  to  any  immediate 
prospect  of  coming  to  those  amicable  terms  on  which 
I  wish  to  stand  with  yourself  and  my  family.  It 
has  at  last  occurred  to  me  that  the  probable  cause 
of  the  offence  which  you  so  suddenly  took,  was  a 
clandestine  attempt  on  my  part  to  correspond  with 
Hellen.  You  very  well  know  that  I  could  not  corre- 
spond with  any  of  my  sisters  openly,  and  that  it  is  very 
natural  for  me  to  attempt  to  keep  alive  in  one  at 
least  an  affection  when  all  the  others  are  at  variance 
with  one.  An  additional  motive  was  that  my  corre- 
spondence would  have  been  such  as  is  calculated  to 
improve  the  understanding  and  expand  the  heart.  I 
am  now  at  Nantgwilt  in  Radnorshire,  and  being  de- 
sirous to  settle  with  my  wife  in  a  retired  spot,  think  of 
taking  this  house  and  farm.  The  farm  is  about  200 
acres,  the  house  a  very  good  one,  the  yearly  rent  £98. 


Married  Life 

The  furniture  and  the  stock  must,  however,  be  pur- 
chased, which  will  cost  £500.  This  sum,  if  I  were  to 
raise  it,  would  not  be  obtained  under  exorbitant 
interest,  and  probably,  at  all  events,  with  difficulty. 
If  you  would  advance  it  to  me,  I  should  at  once, 
by  your  means,  be  settled  where  my  yearly  income 
would  amply  suffice,  which  would  otherwise  be  dissi- 
pated in  searching  for  a  situation  where  it  might 
maintain  myself  and  my  wife.  You  have  now  an 
opportunity  of  settling  the  heir  to  your  property 
where  he  may  quietly  and  gentlemanly  pursue  those 
avocations  which  are  calculated  hereafter  to  render 
him  no  disgrace  to  your  family  on  a  more  extended 
theatre  of  action. 

If  you  feel  inclined  to  assist  me  with  the  sum  for  the 
purposes  I  mention,  and  it  is  inconvenient  to  give  any 
ready  money,  your  name  for  the  amount  would  suffice. 

I  am  now  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Hooper  (Nantgwilt), 
who  has  become  bankrupt,  and  with  whose  assignees 
I  am  treating  for  the  lease,  furniture,  &c.  If  you 
will  accede  to  my  request,  or  if  you  reject  it,  pray  be 
so  kind  as  to  inform  me  as  soon  as  you  can  make  it 
convenient,  as  I  am  at  present  in  a  state  of  suspense 
which  is  far  from  pleasant. 

Your  daughter-in-law  is  confined  by  a  tedious  in- 
termittent fever,  which  considerably  augments  the 
gloomy  feelings  incident  to  our  unsettled  state.  I 
hope  that  all  at  Field  Place  are  in  good  health. — Dear 
Sir,  yours  very  respectfully, 


[Addressed] : 

T.  SHELLEY,  Esq.,  M.P.,  [Readdressed] : 

Field  Place,  "    Miller's  Hotel, 

Horsham,  Sussex.  Westminster  Bridge. 


Shelley  in   England 

Mr.  Shelley  replied  curtly  to  the  letter  through 
Whitton,  on  May  5,  that  he  declined  making  the 
advance  that  Bysshe  had  mentioned,  or  to  give  any 

In  their  letters  to  Elizabeth  Kitchener  she  had 
received  frequent  appeals  from  Bysshe  and  Harriet 
to  visit,  or,  indeed,  to  take  up  her  residence  with 
them.  They  asked  her  to  come  to  Keswick,  and  when 
she  was  unable  to  accept  their  invitation,  it  was 
decided  that  on  their  return  from  Ireland  she  should 
pay  her  long-deferred  visit  in  Wales.  She  still  hesi- 
tated, because  to  be  absent  from  her  school  for  any 
length  of  time  would  necessitate  closing  it. 

Miss  Kitchener  had  evidently  broached  the  subject 
to  Mrs.  Pilfold,  and  spoken  in  glowing  terms  of  her 
ardent  young  correspondent.  Mrs.  Pilfold  could  make 
nothing  of  this  platonic  friendship,  and  chose  to  add 
a  questionable  colour  to  it.  She  was  anxious  not  to 
lose  her  schoolmistress,  and  was  determined  to  stop 
Miss  Kitchener's  visit  to  the  Shelleys.  Busybodies 
were  soon  active  at  Cuckfield,  and  Miss  Kitchener 
was  quick  to  communicate  the  scandal  to  Bysshe. 
He  was  depressed  when  these  unwelcome  tidings 
reached  him,  for  Harriet  was  ill  with  a  bilious  fever, 
so  he  wrote  to  his  friend  :  "A  week  ago  I  said, 
'  Give  me  Nantgwilt ;  fix  me  in  this  spot,  so  retired, 
so  lovely,  so  fit  for  the  seclusion  of  those  who  think 


Married  Life 

and  feel.  Fate,  I  ask  no  more.'  Little  then  did  I 
expect  my  Harriet's  illness,  or  that  flaming  opposi- 
tion which  the  mischievous  and  credulous  around 
you  are  preparing  against  the  most  cherished  wishes 
of  my  heart.  Now  I  say,  '  Fate,  give  my  Harriet 
health,  give  my  Portia  peace,  and  I  will  excuse  the 
remainder  of  my  requisition.'  Oh,  my  beloved  friend, 
let  not  the  sweet  cup  be  dashed  from  the  lips  of  those 
who  alone  can  appreciate  the  luxury,  at  the  instant 
that  Fate  has  yielded  it  to  their  power  !  " l  He 
referred  to  the  subject  in  his  next  letter  to  "  Portia  " 
(the  name  that  Bysshe  and  Harriet  had  given  to 
Eliza  Kitchener)  :  "  And  so  our  dear  friends  are 
determined  to  destroy  our  peace  of  mind  if  we  live  to- 
gether— determined,  all  for  our  good,  to  make  us  all 
the  most  miserable  wretches  on  earth.  Now  this, 
it  must  be  confessed,  is  truly  humane  and  conde- 
scending. But  how  is  it  to  be  managed  ?  Where  will 
they  begin  ?  In  what  manner  will  they  destroy  our 
peace  of  mind  without  eradicating  that  conscious 
integrity  whence  it  springs  ?  "  Bysshe  had  written 
to  the  Captain  and  to  Miss  Kitchener's  father  to  try 
and  allay  the  scandal.  The  Captain's  reply  was  that 
reports  were  current  such  as  Miss  Kitchener  had 
described,  but  "  he  professed  to  disbelieve  the  '  Mis- 
tress '  business,  but  asserted  that  I  certainly  was 

1  Shelley  to  Miss  Hitchener,  May  i,  1812. 

Shelley  in  England 

very  much  attached  to  you.  I  certainly  should  feel 
quite  as  much  inclined  to  deny  my  own  existence  as 
to  deny  this  latter  charge  ;  altho'  I  took  care  to  assure 
him  that,  in  the  vague  sense  which  he  had  annexed 
to  the  word  '  love,'  he  was  utterly  mistaken."  l 

The  result  of  this  gossip  was  to  further  postpone 
Portia's  visit.  For  one  thing,  Shelley  had  not  been 
successful  in  coming  to  any  arrangement  for  the 
possession  of  Nantgwillt,  as  the  possessor  was  not 
disposed  to  let  him  remain  without  security,  which 
he  was  unable  to  obtain.  He  had  decided  to  go  for 
a  short  time  to  the  Groves  at  Cwm  Elan,  but  before 
he  left  Nantgwillt  he  wrote  to  his  grandfather.  He 
may  have  thought  that  if  he  could  produce  a  letter 
from  Sir  Bysshe  stating  what  he  was  prepared  to  do 
for  him,  that  it  might  be  accepted  as  a  security  by 
the  possessor  of  the  Nantgwillt  property. 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Sir  Bysshe  Shelley 



June  2,  1812. 

SIR, — I  take  the  liberty  of  writing  to  you  in  con- 
sequence of  a  hint  which  I  haverecieved  [sic],  preferring 
in  cases  of  importance  to  negociate  with  principals. 

I  had  heard  that  you  designed,  on  my  coming  of 
age,  to  enter  into  some  terms  with  me,  respecting 

1  Shelley  to  Miss  Kitchener,  May  7,  1812. 

Married  Life 

money  matters,  which  terms,  if  at  all  compatible  with 
my  own  interest,  believe  me  I  shall  be  ready  to 
accede  to. 

Altho'  at  present  in  circumstances  that  very  much 
require  assistance,  I  do  not  venture  to  ask  for  any 
remittance  from  you,  knowing  that  all  acts  of  a  minor 
are  void  in  law,  but  you  would  very  much  oblige  me 
if  you  would  state  to  me  the  nature  of  the  terms 
about  to  be  proposed  on  the  expiration  of  my  minority, 
to  which  I  am  not  so  adverse  as  I  may  have  been 

I  am  now  about  to  take  the  place  whence  I  date 
this  letter. — I  remain,  with  much  respect,  your  aff. 
Grandson,  P.  B.  SHELLEY. 

[Addressed]  : 


After  a  short  stay  at  Cwm  Elan,  the  Shelleys  moved 
to  Lynmouth.  While  they  were  there,  Bysshe  issued 
from  the  office  of  a  Barnstaple  printer  his  "  Letter 
to  Lord  Ellenborough,  occasioned  by  the  Sentence 
which  he  passed  on  Mr.  D.  I.  Eaton,  as  Publisher  of 
the  Third  Part  of  Paine's  Age  of  Reason."  In  this 
little  pamphlet  Shelley  first  gave  proof  of  his  gifts  as 
a  writer  of  prose.  It  was,  however,  as  short-lived  as 
The  Necessity  of  Atheism.  The  printer,  on  examining 
the  contents  of  the  pamphlet,  destroyed  most  of  the 
impression,  and  all  save  one  1  of  seventy-five  copies 

1  This  unique  copy  is  now  in  the  Bodleian  Library. 


Shelley  in   England 

which  Shelley  despatched  to  his  friend  Hookham,  the 
Bond  Street  publisher,  met  a  similar  fate. 

Shelley  had  caused  to  be  printed,  probably  while 
he  was  in  Dublin,  a  broadside  which  he  described  as 
a  "  Declaration  of  Rights,"  consisting  of  a  number 
of  sentences,  drawn  up  in  the  form  of  appeals  to 
the  people  similar  to  those  placarded  on  the  walls 
and  houses  of  Paris  during  the  French  Revolution. 
His  hurried  departure  from  Ireland,  and  Godwin's 
grave  warning,  had  probably  decided  him  not  to 
make  use  of  this  form  of  propaganda  in  Dublin.  He 
was,  however,  unable  to  withstand  the  temptation  of 
trying  the  effect  of  the  broadsides  on  the  people  of 
Devon,  and  he  engaged  a  man  to  fix  them  on  the  walls 
of  Barnstaple.  The  man  was  arrested  and  sentenced 
to  a  fine  of  £200  or  six  months'  imprisonment.  Shelley, 
who  was  unable  to  meet  the  fine,  promised  to  pay  a 
sum  of  fifteen  shillings  a  week  in  consideration  of  a 
mitigation  of  the  sentence.  This  was  one  of  the 
causes  that  brought  Shelley's  visit  to  Lynmouth  to 
an  end. 

Miss  Kitchener,  who  was  no  longer  able  to  with- 
stand Bysshe's  insistent  invitations,  decided  to  visit 
her  friends  at  Lynmouth.  Accordingly  she  closed  her 
school,  started  on  her  journey,  and  in  passing  through 
London  supped  and  slept  at  the  Godwins'  house  on 


Married  Life 

July  14.  It  is  possible  that  the  pleasure  anticipated 
by  Shelley  in  having  her  under  his  roof  was  speedily 
abated,  if  it  was  ever  realised.  Harriet  was  evidently 
not  much  impressed  with  her  guest  when  she  wrote 
on  August  4  to  Catherine  Nugent,  an  acquaintance 
whom  she  had  made  in  Dublin  :  "  Our  friend,  Miss 
Kitchener,  is  come  to  us.  She  is  very  busy  writing 
for  the  good  of  mankind.  She  is  very  dark  in  com- 
plexion, with  a  great  quantity  of  black  hair.  She 
talks  a  great  deal.  If  you  like  great  talkers,  she  will 
suit  you.  She  is  taller  than  me  or  my  sister,  and  as 
thin  as  it  is  possible  to  be.  I  hope  you  will  see  her 
some  day." 

Very  soon  Harriet  began  to  suspect  that  Portia 
was  in  love  with  Bysshe,  who,  so  far  from  recipro- 
cating these  feelings,  now  doubted  her  republicanism 
and  sincerity.  It  was  a  painful  position  for  the  poor 
woman ;  her  head  had  been  turned  by  her  young 
friend's  passionate  letters,  and  she  was  unable  to  live 
up  to  the  ideal  that  he  had  created  of  her. 

The  Shelleys  hastily  left  Lynmouth  apparently 
towards  the  end  of  August,  and,  crossing  the  Bristol 
Channel,  settled  at  length  near  Tremadoc  in  a  house 
called  Tanyrallt.  Here  Bysshe  found  a  fresh  field  for 
his  energies.  His  landlord,  Mr.  W.  A.  Maddocks,  M.P., 
had  reclaimed  from  the  sea  a  large  tract  of  marshland 
in  Carnarvonshire,  and  had  built  upon  it  the  new 


Shelley  in   England 

town  of  Tremadoc,  which  had  been  named  after  its 
enterprising  founder.  At  the  time  of  Shelley's  visit 
to  the  town  an  embankment  was  in  the  course  of 
construction  to  protect  Tremadoc  from  danger  of 
destruction  by  the  sea.  Shelley  became  keenly  in- 
terested in  the  fate  of  the  embankment,  and  besides 
canvassing  the  neighbourhood  for  subscriptions,  he 
headed  the  list  with  a  sum  of  £100,  and  went  up 
to  London  with  his  wife,  Eliza  Westbrook,  and  Miss 
Kitchener  to  forward  his  object.  Bysshe  applied  to 
the  Duke  of  Norfolk  for  a  contribution,  but,  according 
to  Hogg,  the  Duke  politely  declined,  excusing  himself 
on  the  score  of  having  no  funds  at  his  immediate 

Bysshe  was  now  as  anxious  to  arrange  the  de- 
parture of  Miss  Hitchener  as  he  had  been  to  welcome 
her  under  his  roof.  It  was  no  easy  task,  but  at  last 
she  was  induced  to  leave  on  or  before  November  8, 
having  received  the  promise  of  an  allowance  of  £100 

1  Shelley  was  so  embarrassed  at  this  time  for  want  of  money  that  he 
appears  to  have  been  actually  arrested  for  debt.  The  only  available 
information  on  this  subject  is  contained  in  a  letter,  dated  June  12,  1844, 
from  William  Roberts,  a  surgeon  of  Carnarvon,  to  Peacock,  Shelley's 
executor.  Roberts  stated  that  some  thirty  years  previously  Shelley  was 
arrested  at  Carnarvon  for  a  sum  of  money  which  he  owed,  and  he  would 
have  been  sent  to  gaol  if  Roberts  had  not  bailed  him  for  the  amount. 
Roberts,  who  thus  became  acquainted  with  Shelley  and  visited  him  at 
Tremadoc,  lent  him  £30,  which  sum  he  never  paid,  but  he  discharged 
the  debt  for  which  he  was  arrested.  In  another  letter  addressed  to  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley  on  February  7,  1824,  Roberts  asked  for  the  payment 
of  a  sum  of  £6,  which  he  said  was  owing  to  him  from  Shelley. 


Married  Life 

a  year.  "  '  The  Brown  Demon/  "  wrote  Bysshe,  on 
December  3,  to  Hogg  (with  whom  he  was  now  recon- 
ciled), "  as  we  now  call  our  late  tormentor  and  school- 
mistress, must  receive  her  stipend.  I  pay  it  with  a 
heavy  heart  and  an  unwilling  hand  ;  but  it  must  be 
so.  She  was  deprived  by  our  misjudging  haste  of 
a  situation,  where  she  was  going  on  smoothly ;  and 
now  she  says  that  her  reputation  is  gone,  her  health 
ruined,  her  peace  of  mind  destroyed  by  my  barbarity — 
a  complete  victim  to  all  the  woes,  mental  and  bodily, 
that  heroine  ever  suffered  !  This  is  not  all  fact ;  but 
certainly  she  is  embarrassed  and  poor,  and  we,  being 
in  some  degree  the  cause,  we  ought  to  obviate  it." 
That  he  thought  her  "  artful,  superficial,  ugly,"  and 
worse,  was  no  excuse  for  Bysshe's  treatment  of  his 
former  friend.  He  declared  that  his  astonishment  at 
his  fatuity,  inconsistency,  and  bad  taste  was  never 
so  great  as  after  living  four  months  with  her  as  an 
inmate.  "  What  would  Hell  be,"  he  added,  "  were 
such  a  woman  in  Heaven  ?  " 




Shelley  meets  Mary  Godwin — The  assault  at  Tanyrallt — Ireland 
revisited — Queen  Mob — The  birth  of  lanthe — London — Duke  of 
Norfolk — The  Godwins — J.  F.  Newton — Mrs.  Boinville — Bracknell 
— Shelley  revisits  the  Lakes  and  Edinburgh — T.  L.  Peacock — 
Elephantiasis — Money  difficulties — Shelley's  last  visit  to  Field 
Place — Shelley  remarried — Mary  Godwin — Shelley  takes  leave  of 

WHILE  Shelley  and  Harriet  were  in  London  during 
the  autumn  of  1812,  they  did  not  omit  to  visit  the 
Godwins,  and  they  saw  them  frequently ;  but  a  dinner 
at  their  house  on  October  n  calls  for  particular 
attention.  It  was  on  this  occasion  that  Bysshe  prob- 
ably met  Mary  Godwin,  his  future  wife,  for  the  first 
time.  She  had  been  spending  the  summer  with  her 
friends,  the  Baxters,  in  Scotland,  but  she  returned 
home  on  the  previous  day.  Mary,  who  had  at  the 
time  but  lately  passed  her  fifteenth  year,  perhaps  did 
not  specially  attract  Bysshe's  attention. 

By  the  first  week  in  December  Bysshe  had  left 
London  and  was  back  at  Tanyrallt,  where  he  remained 
with  Harriet  and  Eliza  Westbrook  till  the  following 
March.  His  departure  was  precipitated  by  an  assault 


Parting  from   Harriet 

made  on  him  during  the  night  of  February  26,  1813, 
by  a  half-witted  sheep-farmer. 

For  ninety-two  years  the  mystery  of  this  attack 
remained  unsolved,  and  the  account  of  it  given  by 
Bysshe,  which  is  now  proved  to  have  been  correct, 
has  been  described  by  many  of  the  poet's  biographers 
as  either  an  hallucination  of  his  brain  or  a  trick  to 
escape  from  his  creditors  at  Tremadoc.  Miss  Margaret 
L.  Crofts  contributed  to  the  Century  Magazine  for 
October  1905  a  well-attested  account  of  Shelley's 
adventure.  In  his  wanderings  over  the  mountains  he 
had  sometimes  come  on  sheep  that  were  dying  of  scab 
or  some  other  lingering  disease,  and  out  of  pity  for 
these  helpless  creatures  he  would  put  an  end  to  their 
sufferings  by  a  kindly  shot  from  the  pistol  which  he 
usually  carried.  A  rough  Welsh  mountain  sheep- 
farmer  was  so  exasperated  by  Shelley's  well-meant 
ministrations  that  he  and  his  friends  went  down  to 
Tanyrallt  one  stormy  night  in  February,  and  the 
farmer  discharged  a  shot  through  the  window  with  the 
intention  of  giving  Shelley  a  good  fright.  Shelley 
fired,  but  his  pistol  flashed  in  the  pan,  whereupon  the 
farmer  entered  the  room,  wrestled  with  him,  and  finally 
knocked  him  down.  The  rough  face  and  figure  of  the 
farmer  gave  Shelley  the  impression  that  he  saw  the 
devil  when  he  looked  out  at  the  man  standing  by 
a  beech  tree.  The  assailants  gained  their  end,  for 


Shelley  in   England 

Shelley,  Harriet,  and  her  sister  left  the  house  the  next 
day  and  journeyed  to  Bangor  on  their  way  to  Ireland. 

After  a  stormy  passage  Shelley  with  the  two  ladies 
reached  Dublin  on  March  9.  Their  object  in  revisiting 
the  Irish  capital  was  apparently  nothing  more  than 
a  desire  to  get  away  from  the  scenes  of  that  ugly 
night  at  Tremadoc.  During  his  previous  visit  Shelley 
had  been  too  busy  to  see  any  of  the  beauties  of  Irish 
scenery,  but  on  this  occasion  he  made  good  the  omis- 
sion by  going  to  Lake  Killarney,  where,  according  to 
Hogg,  he  occupied  a  cottage.  The  place  made  a  deep 
and  lasting  impression  on  him,  for  he  wrote  to  Peacock 
from  Milan,  some  years  after,  that  "  Lake  Como  ex- 
ceeds anything  that  I  ever  beheld  in  beauty,  with 
the  exception  of  the  Arbutus  Islands  of  Killarney." 

Hogg  had  been  invited  to  visit  Shelley  at  Tanyrallt, 
but  owing  to  the  poet's  hasty  flight  from  that  place, 
it  was  abandoned,  and  he  was  asked  to  come  to  Dublin. 
He  journeyed  to  the  Irish  capital,  only  to  find  that  the 
Shelley s  had  gone  to  Killarney,  and  after  waiting  a 
week  or  ten  days  for  them  he  returned  to  England, 
vexed  at  his  fruitless  quest. 

During  his  sojourn  at  Dublin,  Shelley  had  sent 
Hookham  the  manuscript  of  Queen  Mab,  the  writing 
of  which  had  occupied  him  for  some  months.  He  had 
referred  to  the  poem  in  his  letter  to  Hookham  of 
August  1 8,  1812,  and  enclosed,  by  way  of  specimen, 


Parting  from   Harriet 

all  that  he  had  written  of  it  at  that  date.  He  said, 
"  I  conceive  that  I  have  matter  enough  for  six  more 
cantos.  You  will  perceive  that  I  have  not  attempted 
to  temper  my  constitutional  enthusiasm  in  that  poem. 
Indeed,  a  poem  is  safe  ;  the  iron-souled  Attorney- 
General  would  scarcely  dare  to  attack  it.  The  Past, 
the  Present,  and  the  Future  are  the  grand  and  com- 
prehensive topics  of  this  poem.  I  have  not  yet  ex- 
hausted the  second  of  them."  He  proposed  to  make 
the  notes  to  Queen  Mob  long,  philosophical,  and  anti- 
Christian,  and  to  take  the  opportunity,  he  judged 
a  safe  one,  of  propagating  his  principles,  which,  he 
said,  "  I  decline  to  do  syllogistically  in  a  poem.  A 
poem  very  didactic  is,  I  think,  very  stupid."  He 
wished  to  have  "  only  250  copies  printed,  in  a  small 
neat  quarto  on  fine  paper,  and  so  as  to  catch  the 
aristocrats.  They  will  not  read  it,  but  their  sons  and 
daughters  may."  Hookham,  who  probably  superin- 
tended the  printing  of  the  poem,  in  small  octavo, 
did  not  put  his  name  to  it  nor  that  of  the  actual 
printer.  The  title-page  of  the  volume,  which  was 
issued  privately  by  Shelley,  bears  his  own  name  as 
printer  with  the  address  of  his  father-in-law,  23  Chapel 
Street,  Grosvenor  Square,  and  the  famous  epigraph 
from  Voltaire's  correspondence,  "  Ecrasez  1'infame." 

Towards  the  end   of   March   Shelley  and   Harriet 
departed  for   Dublin  in  great  haste,    and   left  Miss 

401  2C 

Shelley  in   England 

Westbrook  at  Killarney  with  a  large  library,  but 
without  money,  so  that,  as  Hogg  said,  she  might  not 
be  tempted  to  discontinue  her  studies.  By  April  5, 
Shelley  and  his  wife  were  in  London  at  Chapel  Street, 
and  after  staying  for  a  few  days  at  an  hotel  in  Albe- 
marle  Street  they  took  lodgings  in  Half-Moon  Street, 
where  they  remained  for  several  months.  Hogg 
describes  a  little  projecting  window  in  the  house,  in 
which  Shelley  might  be  seen  from  the  street  all  day 
long,  book  in  hand,  with  lively  gestures  and  bright 
eyes,  so  that  Mrs.  Newton  said,  "  He  wanted  only 
a  pan  of  clear  water  and  a  fresh  turf  to  look 
like  some  young  lady's  lark  hanging  outside  for  air 
and  song."  l 

During  the  summer  of  this  year  (1813),  when  the 
Shelleys  were  living  somewhere  in  Pimlico,  Harriet 
gave  birth  to  her  first-born,  a  girl,  who  was  named 
lanthe  Elizabeth.  Apparently  lanthe  was  of  Shelley's 
choosing,  after  the  Lady  in  Queen  Mob  ;  Elizabeth 
was  the  name  of  his  favourite  sister  as  well  also  as  that 
of  Harriet's  sister.  lanthe  Shelley,  who  became  Mrs. 
Esdaile,  died  in  June  1876,  and  her  descendants  are 
Shelley's  only  living  representatives. 

Once  more  Bysshe  wrote  to  his  father  in  the  hope 
of  a  reconciliation,  and,  according  to  a  statement  in 
one  of  Harriet's  letters,  he  expected  to  be  forgiven. 

1  Hogg's  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  ii.  p.  389. 

Parting  from   Harriet 

She  said  that  Mr.  Shelley's  family  were  Very  eager  to 
be  reconciled  to  Bysshe.  Mr.  Shelley's  reply,  how- 
ever, was  unfavourable. 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Timothy  Shelley 


May  4,  1813. 

MY  DEAR  FATHER, — I  once  more  presume  to  address 
you  to  state  to  you  my  sincere  desire  of  being  con- 
sidered as  worthy  of  a  restoration  to  the  intercourse 
of  yourself  and  your  family,  which  I  forfeited  by  my 

Some  time  since  I  stated  my  feelings  on  this  subject 
in  a  letter  to  the  Duke  of  Norfolk.  I  was  agreeably 
surprised  by  a  visit  from  him  the  other  day,  and  much 
regretted  that  illness  prevented  me  from  keeping  my 
appointment  with  him  on  the  succeeding  morning. 
If,  however,  I  could  convince  you  of  the  change  that 
has  taken  place  in  some  of  the  most  unfavourable 
traits  of  my  character  and  of  my  willingness  to  make 
any  concession  that  may  be  judged  best  for  the  inte- 
rest of  my  family,  I  flatter  myself  that  there  would 
be  little  further  need  of  his  Grace's  interference. 

I  hope  the  time  is  approaching  when  we  shall  con- 
sider each  other  as  father  and  son  with  more  con- 
fidence than  ever,  and  that  I  shall  no  longer  be  a  cause 
of  disunion  to  the  happiness  of  my  family.  I  was 
happy  to  hear  from  John  Grove,  who  dined  with  us 
yesterday,  that  you  continue  in  good  health.  My 
wife  unites  with  me  in  respectful  regards.1 

1  From  Hogg's  Life  of  Shelley. 

Shelley  in   England 

Mr.  Shelley  replied  in  a  letter,  prompted  by  his 
solicitor,1  that  put  an  end  to  any  hopes  that  Bysshe 
may  have  entertained. 

Timothy  Shelley  to  P.  B.  Shelley 


May  26,  1813. 

MY  DEAR  BOY, — I  am  sorry  to  find  by  the  contents 
of  your  letter  of  yesterday  that  I  was  mistaken  in  the 
conclusion  I  drew  from  your  former  letter,  in  which 
you  had  assured  me  that  a  change  had  taken  place  in 
some  of  the  most  unfavourable  Traits  in  your  Char- 
acter, as  what  regards  your  avow'd  opinions  are  in  my 
Judgment  the  most  material  parts  of  Character  re- 
quiring amendment ;  and  as  you  now  avow  there  is 
no  change  effected  in  them,  I  must  decline  all  further 
Communication,  or  any  Personal  Interview,  until  that 
shall  be  Effected,  and  I  desire  you  will  consider  this 
as  my  final  answer  to  anything  vou  may  have  to 

If  that  Conclusion  had  not  operated  on  my  mind 
to  give  this  answer,  I  desire  you  also  to  understand 
that  I  should  not  have  received  any  Communication 
but  through  His  Grace  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,  as  I  know 
his  exalted  mind  will  protect  me  at  the  moment,  and 
with  the  World.  I  beg  to  return  all  usual  remem- 
brance.— I  am,  Yr.  Affecti.  Father, 


Bysshe  wrote  to  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,  on  May  28, 
to  thank  him  for  the  warm  interest  that  he  had  taken 

1  Whitton  in  his  minute  book  writes  on  May  20,  1813  :  "  Letter  to 
Mr.  Shelley  advising  on  the  letter  to  P.  B." 


Parting  from   Harriet 

in  his  concerns,  and  expressing  regret  that  he  should 
have  occupied  his  time  in  "  the  vain  and  impossible 
task  of  reconciling  "  him  and  his  father.  Bysshe  was 
prepared  to  make  every  reasonable  concession  to 
Mr.  Shelley,  but  he  was  not,  he  said,  "  so  degraded  and 
miserable  a  slave  as  publicly  to  disavow  an  opinion 
which  I  believe  to  be  true."  Bysshe  enclosed  his  father's 
reply,  with  this  letter,  for  the  Duke's  inspection. 

Bysshe  came  of  age  on  August  4,  1813,  but  appar- 
ently he  now  had  small  prospect  of  immediately 
obtaining  a  settlement  as  regards  his  affairs.  He 
had  some  debts,  contracted  in  view  of  being  in  a 
position  to  liquidate  them  on  attaining  his  majority, 
and  they  were  now  pressing.  Despite  Mr.  Shelley's 
threat  that  he  would  not  receive  his  son,  Bysshe 
managed  to  see  his  father  and  to  tell  him  that  he  had 
heard  that  efforts  were  on  foot  to  deprive  him  of  his 
interest  in  the  estates  under  the  will  of  his  great- 
uncle,  John  Shelley.  This  was,  of  course,  a  baseless 
rumour.  Mr.  Shelley  received  his  son  kindly,  but  the 
interview  had  no  beneficial  result  for  him.  Field  Place 
was  still  forbidden  ground,  although  Bysshe  managed 
to  correspond  with  his  sisters  and  mother,  from  whom 
he  received  letters,  his  mother  keeping  him  posted  up 
in  all  the  news  regarding  his  father's  movements. 

Bysshe  found  much  to  interest  him  in  town.  Queen 
Mob  was  probably  now  about  to  be  issued,  and  he 


Shelley  in  England 

would  constantly  be  in  and  out  of  the  shop  of  Thomas 
Hookham,  the  friendly  little  publisher  of  New  Bond 
Street,  who  apparently  superintended  the  printing  of 
the  poem.  The  book  was  printed  for  private  circu- 
lation, and  Bysshe  distributed  the  copies  himself, 
but  before  doing  so  he  cut  out  from  many  of  them  the 
title-page  and  the  imprint  at  the  end  of  the  volume,  as 
in  both  places  his  name  appeared  as  the  printer. 
This  precaution  was  taken  in  order  to  avoid  the  danger 
of  prosecution.  From  most  of  the  copies  "that  passed 
through  his  hands,  the  deeply  appreciative  dedication 
to  Harriet  was  also  removed.  The  volume  bears  the 
date  of  1813,  but  as  far  as  I  am  aware  there  is  no 
published  evidence  as  to  the  exact  month  when  it 
was  ready.  The  removal  of  the  dedication  by  the 
author  may  indicate  that  it  was  put  into  circulation 
at  the  end  of  1813,  or  possibly  the  beginning  of  1814, 
when  Shelley  and  Harriet  were  drifting  apart,  or  that 
the  copies  so  treated  by  him  were  distributed  during, 
or  after,  that  painful  period  of  his  life. 

Bysshe  and  his  wife  did  not  see  much  of  Godwin 
because,  as  Harriet  wrote  to  Miss  Nugent,  "  his  wife 
is  so  dreadfully  disagreeable  that  I  could  not  bear 
the  idea  of  seeing  her.  Mr.  S.  has  done  that  away, 
tho',  by  telling  G.  that  I  could  not  bear  the  society  of 
his  darling  wife.  Poor  man,  we  are  not  the  only 
people  who  find  her  troublesome." 


Parting  from   Harriet 

Through  Godwin,  however,  Shelley  had  made  the 
acquaintance,  when  he  visited  London  in  the  autumn 
of  1812,  of  John  Frank  Newton,  author  of  The  Return 
to  Nature,  or  a  Defence  of  the  Vegetable  Regimen,  1811. 
With  his  strong  leanings  towards  vegetarianism  Shelley 
was  attracted  to  Newton  and  his  book,  and  made  use 
of  the  former  in  his  vegetarian  note  in  Queen  Mab, 
which  was  subsequently  printed  as  a  separate  pamph- 
let as  A  Vindication  of  Natural  Diet. 

At  the  Newtons'  house  in  Chester  Square  Bysshe 
was  admitted  to  a  circle  of  people  whose  tastes  and 
ideas  he  found  very  congenial.  Besides  Newton  and 
his  wife  there  were  Mrs.  Boinville,  sister  to  Mrs. 
Newton,  and  her  daughter  Cornelia,  who  afterwards 
became  Mrs.  Turner.  In  a  letter  from  Shelley  to 
Hogg  belonging  to  the  summer  of  1813,  he  speaks  of 
what  was  undoubtedly  for  him  an  unusual  diversion  : 
late  hours  and  Vauxhall  Gardens.  "  Last  night  your 
short  note  arrived,  also  beyond  its  hour,  and  the 
Newtons  had  already  taken  me  with  them.  This 
night  the  Newtons  have  a  party  at  Vauxhall ;  if  you 
will  call  here  at  nine  o'clock  we  will  go  together." 

In  July  Shelley,  Harriet,-  and  the  inevitable  Eliza 
went  to  Bracknell,  where  they  took  a  furnished  house, 
"  High  Elms,"  with  the  intention  of  remaining 
there  until  the  following  spring.  The  Newtons  had 
been  kind  and  helpful  to  Shelley,  and  Mrs.  Boinville, 


Shelley  in   England 

who  was  especially  interested  in  him,  moved  to 
Bracknell,  where  the  intimacy  of  the  two  families 
continued.  Mrs.  Boinville  and  Mrs.  Newton  were  the 
daughters  of  a  wealthy  West  Indian  planter  who 
resided  in  England.  His  house  was  the  resort  of 
many  a  French  emigre,  and  one  of  them,  M.  de  Boin- 
ville, a  man  of  position  whose  property  had  been 
confiscated,  declared  his  love  to  Miss  Collins,  but,  as 
the  match  was  objected  to  by  her  father,  they  eloped, 
and  were  married  at  Gretna  Green,  and  afterwards 
according  to  the  rites  of  the  Church  of  England. 
M.  de  Boinville  went  to  Russia  with  Napoleon,  and 
died  during  the  retreat  from  Moscow  in  1813,  and 
shortly  afterwards  Mrs.  Boinville  lost  her  father. 
Her  hair  had  become  quite  white  through  this  double 
sorrow,  but  her  face  still  retained  much  of  its  youthful 
beauty,  and  Shelley  had  named  her  Maimuna,  after 
the  lady  in  Southey's  Thalaba,  for 

"  Her  face  was  as  a  damsel's  face, 
And  yet  her  hair  was  grey." 

Shelley  was  becoming  restless  again  towards  the 
autumn  of  1813.  He  gave  up  his  house  at  Bracknell, 
and  his  thoughts  turned  once  more  towards  Wales, 
but  early  in  October  he  seems  to  have  contemplated 
revisiting  the  Lakes.  He  had  procured  a  carriage 
some  months  before,  and  in  this  he  travelled  north 


Parting  from   Harriet 

with  Harriet,  their  little  daughter,  and  Thomas  Love 
Peacock.  They  went  by  way  of  Warwick,  and  after  a 
week's  journey  from  London  they  reached  Low  Wood 
Inn,  near  Windermere.  After  visiting  the  Calverts 
at  Keswick,  and  failing  to  obtain  a  house,  they  decided 
on  Edinburgh,  and  arrived  there  some  days  later. 

Peacock,  who  was  on  a  visit  to  Bracknell  when 
Shelley  persuaded  him  to  accompany  him  on  this 
journey,  tells  us  that  he  saw  the  poet  for  the  first 
time  in  1812  just  before  he  went  to  Tanyrallt.  Shelley, 
in  a  letter  to  Hogg  from  Edinburgh,  thus  describes 
Peacock,  with  whose  poetry  he  was  already  familiar, 
and  it  had  won  his  admiration,  but  his  estimate  of 
the  man  was  not  very  enthusiastic.  "  A  new  ac- 
quaintance is  on  a  visit  with  us  this  winter.  He  is  a 
very  mild,  agreeable  man,  and  a  good  scholar.  His 
enthusiasm  is  not  very  ardent,  nor  his  views  very 
comprehensive  :  but  he  is  neither  superstitious,  ill- 
tempered,  dogmatical,  or  proud." 

When  Shelley  became  better  acquainted  with  Pea- 
cock he  appreciated  to  the  full  the  good  qualities  of 
the  "  laughing  philosopher/'  Peacock  seems  to  have 
taken  more  trouble  than  any  other  of  Shelley's  friends 
to  induce  him  to  find  pleasure  in  some  of  the  good 
things  of  this  world,  which  he  was  inclined  to  neglect, 
partly  owing  to  his  habits  of  seclusion.  Peacock 
interested  himself  in  Shelley's  Greek  studies,  and  some 


Shelley  in   England 

years  later  took  him  to  the  opera,  and  endeavoured 
to  induce  him  to  cultivate  a  more  generous  diet :  his 
prescription  was  "  two  mutton  chops  well  peppered." 
The  diet  agreed  with  the  poet,  and  he  was  not  averse 
from  the  opera,  but  he  went  on  with  neither.  It  is 
possible  that  Peacock  appreciated  Shelley  more  than 
his  poetry  :  this  seems  to  have  been  the  case  with 
most  of  Bysshe's  friends ;  Byron,  perhaps,  being  the 
one  exception. 

Shelley  was  at  times  subject  to  strange  delusions, 
but,  towards  the  end  of  1813,  he  was  troubled  by  a 
most  extraordinary  one.  Peacock,  who  is  our  autho- 
rity, tells  us  that  "  he  fancied  that  a  fat  old  woman 
who  sat  opposite  to  him  in  a  mail-coach  was  afflicted 
with  elephantiasis,  that  the  disease  was  infectious  and 
incurable,  and  that  he  had  caught  it  from  her.  He 
was  continually  on  the  watch  for  its  symptoms ;  his 
legs  were  to  swell  to  the  size  of  an  elephant's,  and  his 
skin  was  to  be  crumpled  over  like  goose-skin.  He 
would  draw  the  skin  of  his  own  hands,  arms,  and  neck 
very  tight,  and,  if  he  discovered  any  deviation  from 
smoothness,  he  would  seize  the  person  next  to  him, 
and  endeavour  by  a  corresponding  pressure  to  see  if 
any  corresponding  deviation  existed.  He  often  startled 
young  ladies  in  an  evening  party  by  this  singular 
process,  which  was  as  instantaneous  as  a  flash  of 
lightning.  His  friends  took  various  methods  of  dis- 


Parting  from   Harriet 

pelling  the  delusion.  When  he  found,  as  days  rolled 
on,  his  legs  retained  their  proportion  and  his  skin  its 
smoothness,  the  delusion  died  away." 

Money  matters  again  began  to  trouble  Shelley  while 
at  Edinburgh,  and  he  wrote  to  an  unidentified  corre- 
spondent on  November  28,  on  whom  he  had  been  com- 
pelled to  draw  for  a  sum  of  £30,  that  the  consequence 
of  having  the  bill  returned  would  necessitate,  as  he 
says,  "  our  being  driven  out  of  our  lodgings."  On 
his  return  south,  he  went  to  stay  alone,  about  the 
middle  of  February,  with  his  kind  friend  Mrs.  Boinville. 
From  her  house  he  wrote  on  March  13,  1814,  to  his 
father  about  his  affairs,  which  had  become  so  critical 
that  he  could  no  longer  delay  raising  money  by  the 
sale  of  post-obit  bonds  to  a  considerable  amount. 
He  pointed  out  that  the  demands  of  moneylenders 
necessitated  vast  sacrifices,  and  that  he  did  not  propose 
to  unsettle  the  estate  by  conceding  them.  He  gave 
his  father  the  credit  for  the  will,  but  realised  his  lack 
of  power  to  do  all  that  he  could  reasonably  expect. 
Sir  Bysshe,  he  thought,  must  surely  see  that  his  hopes 
of  perpetuating  the  integrity  of  the  estates  would  be 
frustrated  by  neglecting  to  relieve  the  necessities  of 
his  grandson.  Should  he  be  driven  to  do  so  he  would 
have  to  dismember  the  property  in  the  event  of  the 
death  of  his  grandfather  and  father. 

Mr.  Shelley  had  already  been  talking  to  Sir  Bysshe 

Shelley  in  England 

about  his  son,  and  he  had  evidently  made  up  his 
mind  to  do  something  for  him  when  he  wrote  on 
March  7  to  Whitton :  "...  My  father  talked  to 
me  abt.  P.  B.  He  said  he  was  told  he  cod.  do  nothing 
from  a  certain  person — I  will  tell  you  the  reason  when 
I  see  you — I  cod.  have  told  him  a  ready  mode  (but  I 
forbore  and  bear  in  mind  yr.  hint),  i.e.  to  pay  the 
debts,  give  an  allowance,  &  in  the  first  instance  lay  a 
restraint,  by  Bonding,  as  they  do  at  the  Customs.  My 
father  said  he  would  sell  Castle  Goring ;  that  he  does 
not  mean,  and  any  offer  of  so  doing  wod.  be  nutts 
for  the  unchristian  and  unfeeling-like  spirit." 

On  March  15  Mr.  Shelley  again  wrote  to  Whitton 
with  reference  to  Bysshe's  communication  of  March 
13:  "I  enclose  you  P.  B.'s  letter;  the  tenor  of  it 
would  not  at  all  suit  his  grandfather's  notions — and 
on  my  own  part  I  would  rather  he  would  first  acknow- 
ledge his  God,  then  I  might  be  led  to  believe  his 
assertions.  My  assurances  of  perfect  reconciliation 
flow'd  from  that  source.  I  doubt,  but  there  are  con- 
siderable difficulties  for  him  to  encounter  in  procuring 
sufficient  to  answer  the  large  demands.  P.  B.  had 
better  leave  it  to  Mr.  Amory  [Bysshe's  solicitor]  to 
communicate  these  matters  to  you — I  could  wish  Mr. 
Amory  would  so  advise  him." 

On  March  4,  shortly  before  Bysshe  wrote  the  last- 
quoted  letter  to  his  father,  he  had  made  the  sale  of 


Parting  from   Harriet 

a  post  obit.  His  object  in  raising  this  money  was 
primarily,  if  not  entirely,  to  assist  Godwin.  The 
indenture,  however,  was  not  made  until  July,  and  the 
transaction  was  therefore  not  then  complete  at  the 
date  of  his  letter  to  Mr.  Shelley.  The  reversion  of 
£8000  sterling  was  offered  for  sale  on  the  above  date 
at  Garra way's  Coffee  House,  Change  Alley,  "  amply 
secured,"  as  it  was  stated,  "  upon  valuable  freehold 
property,  and  made  payable  at  the  decease  of  the 
survivor  of  two  gentlemen,  one  [Sir  Bysshe]  between 
80  and  90,  and  the  other  [Mr.  Shelley]  upwards  of 
60  years  of  age,  in  case  they  are  both  survived  by  a 
gentleman  [Bysshe]  in  his  22nd  year."  The  pur- 
chasers were  Messrs.  Andrew  John  Nash  and  George 
Augustus  Nash  of  Cornhill,  who  secured  it  for  a  sum 
of  £2593,  los. 

The  following  copy  of  a  letter  to  Messrs.  Nash's 
solicitor,  with  regard  to  this  transaction,  is  among  the 
Shelley- Whitton  papers  and  has  not  been  included  in 
the  collected  edition  of  Shelley's  correspondence  : 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Mr.  Tecsdale 


May  6,   1814. 

SIR, — I  beg  to  inform  you  that  to  the  best  of  my 
knowledge,  having  made  every  enquiry  on  the  subject, 
there  has  been  no  portion  of  the  Shelley  Estate  sold 
under  the  Settlement  of  1791  except  that  to  Lord 


Shelley  in   England 

George  Cavendish.  As  to  any  transaction  of  my  own 
I  have  raised  no  money  on  the  reversion  unless  in  one 
instance  the  sum  of  £500,  and  I  assure  you  on  my 
word  of  honour  that  I  shall  engage  in  no  transaction 
that  can  be  any  way  prejudicial  to  the  interest  of  Mr. 
Nash,  the  purchaser.1 — Yours,  &c., 


Early  in  the  summer  of  this  year  Bysshe  paid  his 
last  visit  to  Field  Place.  His  father  and  the  three 
youngest  children  were  absent,  and  he  came  at  his 
mother's  invitation.  He  walked  alone  from  Bracknell 
to  Horsham,  and  when  within  a  few  miles  of  Field 
Place  a  farmer  gave  him  a  seat  in  his  travelling  cart. 
The  man,  being  ignorant  whom  he  was  carrying, 
amused  Bysshe  with  descriptions  of  the  country 
and  its  inhabitants,  and  when  Field  Place  came  in 
sight,  he  stated,  as  the  most  remarkable  incident 
connected  with  the  family,  that  young  Master  Shelley 
seldom  went  to  church.  When  Bysshe  arrived  he 
was  greatly  fatigued  by  his  journey.  From  a  descrip- 
tion of  the  visit,  written  in  later  years  by  Captain 
Kennedy,  a  young  officer  who  had  met  with  hospitality 
at  Field  Place,  one  is  able  to  reconstruct  the  scene. 
Until  his  arrival  Kennedy  had  not  seen  Bysshe,  but 

1  Shortly  after  the  death  of  Sir  Bysshe  in  1815  Shelley  filed  a  Bill  in 
Chancery  against  Messrs.  Nash  to  have  the  Indenture  dated  I2th  July 
1814  rescinded,  but  the  case  went  against  the  poet,  judgment  being 
given  in  favour  of  the  defendants  on  May  28,  1818. 


Parting  from   Harriet 

the  servants,  especially  the  old  butler,  Laker,  had 
spoken  to  him,  and  "  he  seemed  to  have  won  the  hearts 
of  the  whole  household."  Mrs.  Shelley  had  often 
spoken  of  her  son  to  Kennedy  ;  "  her  heart  yearned 
after  him  with  all  the  fondness  of  a  mother's  love." 

Kennedy  went  to  Field  Place  on  the  morning 
following  Bysshe's  arrival,  and  "  found  him  with  his 
mother  and  two  elder  sisters  in  a  small  room  off  the 
drawing-room,  which  they  had  named  Confusion  Hall." 
He  received  Kennedy  with  frankness  and  kindliness, 
as  if  he  had  known  him  from  childhood,  and  he  at 
once  won  the  young  soldier's  heart.  To  continue 
Kennedy's  account  in  his  own  words  :  "I  fancy  I  see 
him  now,  as  he  sat  by  the  window,  and  hear  his  voice, 
the  tones  of  which  impressed  me  with  his  sincerity 
and  simplicity.  His  resemblance  to  his  sister  Elizabeth 
was  as  striking  as  if  they  had  been  twins.  His  eyes 
were  most  expressive,  his  complexion  beautifully  fair  ; 
his  features  exquisitely  fine  ;  his  hair  was  dark,  and 
no  peculiar  attention  to  its  arrangement  was  manifest. 
In  person  he  was  slender  and  gentlemanlike,  but  in- 
clined to  stoop  ;  his  gait  was  decidedly  not  military. 
The  general  appearance  indicated  great  delicacy  of 
constitution.  One  would  at  once  pronounce  him,  that 
he  was  something  different  from  other  men.  There 
was  an  earnestness  in  his  manner,  and  such  perfect 
gentleness  of  breeding  and  freedom  from  everything 


Shelley  in  England 

artificial,  as  charmed  everyone.  I  never  met  a  man 
who  so  immediately  won  upon  one.  The  generosity 
of  his  disposition  and  utter  unselfishness  imposed 
upon  him  the  necessity  of  strict  self-denial  in  personal 
comforts.  Consequently  he  was  obliged  to  be  most 
economical  in  his  dress.  He  one  day  asked  us  how 
we  liked  his  coat,  the  only  one  he  had  brought  with 
him.  We  said  it  was  very  nice,  it  looked  as  if  new. 
'  Well/  said  he,  '  it  is  an  old  black  coat  which  I  have 
had  done  up  and  smartened  with  metal  buttons  and  a 
velvet  collar.'  As  it  was  undesirable  that  Bysshe's 
presence  in  the  country  should  be  known,  we  arranged 
that  in  walking  out  he  should  wear  my  scarlet  uniform, 
and  that  I  should  assume  his  outer  garments.  So  he 
donned  the  soldier's  dress  and  sallied  forth.  His  head 
was  so  remarkably  small  that,  though  mine  be  not 
large,  the  cap  came  down  over  his  eyes,  the  peak  resting 
on  his  nose,  and  it  had  to  be  stuffed  before  it  would  fit 
him.  His  hat  just  stuck  on  the  crown  of  my  head. 
He  certainly  looked  anything  but  a  soldier. 

"  The  metamorphosis  was  very  amusing  ;  he  en- 
joyed it  much,  and  made  himself  perfectly  at  home  in 
his  unwonted  garb.  We  gave  him  the  name  of  Captain 
Jones,  under  which  name  we  used  to  talk  of  him  after 
his  departure  ;  but,  with  all  our  care,  Bysshe's  visit 
could  not  be  kept  a  secret.  I  chanced  to  mention 
the  name  of  Sir  James  Mackintosh,  of  whom  he 


Parting  from   Harriet 

expressed  the  highest  admiration.  He  told  me  Sir 
James  was  intimate  with  one  [Godwin]  to  whom  he 
said  he  owed  everything  ;  from  whose  book,  Political 
Justice,  he  had  derived  all  that  was  valuable  in  know- 
ledge and  virtue.  He  discoursed  with  eloquence  and 
enthusiasm  ;  but  his  views  seemed  to  me  exquisitely 
metaphysical,  and  by  no  means  clear,  precise,  or 
decided.  He  told  me  that  he  had  already  read  the 
Bible  four  times.  [Kennedy  said  '  in  Hebrew/  which, 
as  Hogg  states,  he  never  learnt ;  he  probably  said  '  in 
Greek/  as  he  was  much  addicted  to  reading  the 
Septuagint.]  He  spoke  of  the  Supreme  Being  as  of 
infinite  mercy  and  benevolence.  He  disclosed  no 
fixed  views  of  spiritual  things ;  all  seemed  wild  and 
fanciful.  He  said  that  he  once  thought  the  surround- 
ing atmosphere  was  peopled  with  the  spirits  of  the 
departed.  He  reasoned  and  spoke  as  a  perfect  gentle- 
man, and  treated  my  arguments,  boy  as  I  was — I  had 
lately  completely  my  sixteenth  year — with  as  much 
consideration  and  respect  as  if  I  had  been  his  equal 
in  ability  and  attainments.  Shelley  was  one  of  the 
most  sensitive  of  human  beings  ;  he  had  a  horror  of 
taking  life,  and  looked  upon  it  as  a  crime.  He  read 
poetry  with  great  emphasis  and  solemnity ;  one 
evening  he  read  aloud  to  us  a  translation  of  one  of 
Goethe's  poems,  and  at  this  day  I  think  I  hear  him.  In 
music  he  seemed  to  delight,  as  a  medium  of  association : 

417  2  D 

Shelley  in   England 

the  tunes  which  had  been  favourites  in  boyhood  charmed 
him.  There  was  one,  which  he  played  several  times  on 
the  piano  with  one  hand,  that  seemed  to  absorb  him  ; 
it  was  an  exceedingly  simple  air  which,  I  understand,  his 
earliest  love  was  wont  to  play  for  him.  Poor  fellow  ! 
He  soon  left  us,  and  I  never  saw  him  afterwards,  but 
I  can  never  forget  him.  It  was  his  last  visit  to  Field 
Place.  He  was  an  amiable  and  gentle  being." 

Mrs.  Boinville  was  evidently  aware  of  the  crisis  in 
Shelley's  life,  and,  in  allusion  to  his  visit,  she  wrote 
from  Bracknell  to  Hogg,  on  March  n,  1814  :  "I  will 
not  have  you  despise  homespun  pleasures.  Shelley  is 
making  a  trial  of  them  with  us,  and  likes  them  so  well 
that  he  is  resolved  to  leave  off  rambling,  and  to  begin 
a  course  of  them  himself.  Seriously,  I  think  his  mind 
and  body  want  rest.  His  journeys  after  what  he  has 
never  found  have  racked  his  purse  and  his  tranquillity. 
He  is  resolved  to  take  a  little  care  of  the  former  in  pity 
to  the  latter,  which  I  applaud,  and  shall  second  with 
all  my  might.  He  has  deeply  interested  us.  In  the 
course  of  your  intimacy  he  must  have  made  you  feel 
what  we  now  feel  for  him.  He  is  seeking  a  house  close 
to  us  ;  and  if  he  succeeds,  we  shall  have  an  additional 
motive  to  induce  you  to  come  among  us  in  the  summer." 

The  following,  one  of  the  most  pathetic  letters  that 
Shelley  ever  penned,  was  written  from  Mrs.  Boinville's 
hospitable  house : 


Parting  from  Harriet 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  T.  J.  Hogg 


March  16,  1814. 

MY  DEAR  FRIEND, — I  promised  to  write  to  you, 
when  I  was  in  the  humour.  Our  intercourse  has  been 
too  much  interrupted  for  my  consolation.  My  spirits 
have  not  sufficed  to  induce  the  exertion  of  determining 
me  to  write  to  you.  My  value,  my  affection  for  you, 
have  sustained  no  diminution ;  but  I  am  a  feeble, 
wavering,  feverish  being,  who  requires  support  and 
consolation,  which  his  energies  are  too  exhausted  to 

I  have  been  staying  with  Mrs.  B[oinville]  for  the  last 
month ;  I  have  escaped,  in  the  society  of  all  that 
philosophy  and  friendship  combine,  from  the  dismaying 
solitude  of  myself.  They  have  revived  in  my  heart 
the  expiring  flame  of  life.  I  have  felt  myself  trans- 
lated to  a  paradise  which  has  nothing  of  mortality 
but  its  transitoriness  ;  my  heart  sickens  at  the  view 
of  that  necessity,  which  will  quickly  divide  me  from 
the  ,  delightful  tranquillity  of  this  happy  home — for 
it  has  become  my  home.  The  trees,  the  bridge, 
the  minutest  object,  have  already  a  place  in  my 

My  friend,  you  are  happier  than  I.  You  have  the 
pleasures  as  well  as  the  pains  of  sensibility.  I  have 
sunk  into  a  premature  old  age  of  exhaustion,  which 
renders  me  dead  to  everything  but  the  inenviable 
capacity  of  indulging  the  vanity  of  hope,  and  a  terrible 
susceptibility  to  objects  of  disgust  and  hatred. 

My  temporal  concerns  are  slowly  rectifying  them- 
selves ;  I  am  astonished  at  my  own  indifference  to 


Shelley  in  England 

their  event.  I  live  here  like  the  insect  that  sports  in 
a  transient  sunbeam,  which  the  next  cloud  shall  obscure 
for  ever.  I  am  much  changed  from  what  I  was.  I 
look  with  regret  to  our  happy  evenings  at  Oxford, 
and  with  wonder  at  the  hopes  which  in  the  excess  of 
my  madness  I  there  encouraged.  Burns  says,  you 

"  Pleasures  are  like  poppies  spread, 
You  seize  the  flower — the  bloom  is  fled ; 
Or  like  the  snow-falls  in  the  river, 
A  moment  white — then  lost  forever." 

Eliza  is  still  with  us — not  here  ! — but  will  be  with 
me  when  the  infinite  malice  of  destiny  forces  me  to 
depart.  I  am  now  but  little  inclined  to  contest  this 
point.  I  certainly  hate  her  with  all  my  heart  and 
soul.  It  is  a  sight  which  awakens  an  inexpressible 
sensation  of  disgust  and  horror,  to  see  her  caress  my 
poor  little  lanthe,  in  whom  I  may  hereafter  find  the 
consolation  of  sympathy.  I  sometimes  feel  faint  with 
the  fatigue  of  checking  the  overflowings  of  my  un- 
bounded abhorrence  for  this  miserable  wretch.  But 
she  is  no  more  than  a  blind  and  loathsome  worm  that 
cannot  see  to  sting. 

I  have  begun  to  learn  Italian  again.  I  am  reading 
Beccaria,  "  Dei  delitti  e  pene."  His  essay  seems  to 
contain  some  excellent  remarks,  though  I  do  not  think 
it  deserves  the  reputation  it  has  gained.  Cornelia 
assists  me  in  this  language.  Did  I  not  once  tell 
you  that  I  thought  her  cold  and  reserved  ?  She 
is  the  reverse  of  this,  as  she  is  the  reverse  of 
everything  bad.  She  inherits  all  the  divinity  of  her 

What  have  you  written  ?  I  have  been  unable  to 

Parting  from  Harriet 

write  a  common  letter.  I  have  forced  myself  to  read 
Beccaria  and  Dumont's  Bentham.  I  have  sometimes 
forgotten  that  I  am  not  an  inmate  of  this  delightful 
home — that  a  time  will  come,  which  will  cast  me 
again  into  the  boundless  ocean  of  abhorred  society. 

I  have  written  nothing,  but  one  stanza,  which  has 
no  meaning,  and  that  I  have  only  written  in  thought  : 

"  Thy  dewy  locks  sink  on  my  breast ; 

Thy  gentle  words  stir  poison  there ; 
Thou  hast  disturbed  the  only  rest 

That  was  the  portion  of  despair ! 
Subdued  to  Duty's  hard  control, 

I  could  have  borne  my  wayward  lot ; 
The  chains  that  bind  this  ruined  soul 

Had  cankered  then— but  crushed  it  not." 

This  is  the  vision  of  a  delirious  and  distempered 
dream,  which  passes  away  at  the  cold  clear  light  of 
morning.  Its  surpassing  excellence  and  exquisite 
perfections  have  no  more  reality  than  the  colour  of  an 
autumnal  sunset.  Adieu  ! — Believe  me,  truly  and 
affectionately  yours,  P.  B.  SHELLEY.1 

Hogg  thought  that  one  might  infer  from  the  tone 
and  temper  of  this  letter  "  that  his  family  might  have 
had  him  then  on  reasonable,  on  easy  terms,  had  they 
known  how  to  negotiate  a  treaty  of  peace.  They 
might  probably  have  lured  the  wild  hawk,  the  pere- 
grine falcon,  back  to  his  perch  without  difficulty. 
Possibly  they  did  not  know  it ;  certainly  they  did  not 
know  how  to  set  about  it ;  and  the  young  wanderer 

1  From  Hogg's  Life  of  Shelley. 

Shelley  in  England 

was  reserved  for  other,  and  for  higher  and  more 
important  destinies."  Probably  Mrs.  Boinville,  who 
had  herself  made  a  Scotch  marriage,  counselled  Shelley 
to  remarry  in  England,  so  as  to  avoid  any  question 
of  the  validity  of  the  ceremony  in  Edinburgh.  Much 
depended  on  the  legitimacy  of  his  heir,  should  he  have 
one,  and  he  was  well  advised  to  take  this  step.  On 
March  22  he  and  Godwin  went  to  Doctors'  Commons 
and  obtained  a  License.  The  ceremony  took  place 
at  St.  George's,  Hanover  Square,  on  March  24. 

The  "Allegations,"  filed  at  the  Vicar-General's 
office  and  made  in  support  of  the  application  for  License 
to  marry,  state  that : 

On  the  22nd  March  1814  appeared  personally 
Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  and  made  Oath  that  he  is 
of  the  Parish  of  Saint  George  Hanover  Square  in 
the  County  of  Middlesex  of  the  age  of  twenty-one1 
years  and  upwards,  and  that  on  the  twenty-ninth  day 
of  August  one  thousand  eight  hundred  and  eleven, 
he  being  then  a  bachelor  and  a  minor  of  the  age  of 
nineteen  years  and  upwards  was  joined  in  holy  matri- 
mony by  the  Reverend  —  Robertson,  a  minister  of  the 
Church  of  Scotland,  at  his  dwelling-house  in  the  City 
of  Edinburgh,  according  to  the  rites  and  ceremonies 
of  the  Church  of  Scotland,  to  Harriet  Shelley  then 
Westbrook  spinster  and  also  a  minor  of  the  age  of 
sixteen  years  and  upwards,  and  he  further  made  Oath 
that  the  said  Harriet  Shelley  is  now  of  the  Parish  of 

1  This  is  incorrect :  his  birthday  was  on  Aug.  4th. 

Parting  from   Harriet 

Saint  George  Hanover  Square  aforesaid  a  minor  of  the 
age  of  eighteen  years  and  upwards,  and  that  to  obviate 
all  doubts  which  have  arisen  or  may  arise  touching 
the  validity  of  the  said  marriage  the  appearer  and  the 
said  Harriet  Shelley  heretofore  Westbrook  are  willing 
and  desirous  of  being  married  again  in  strict  conformity 
of  law  by  and  with  the  consent  of  John  Westbrook, 
the  natural  and  lawful  father  of  the  said  Harriet  Shelley 
heretofore  Westbrook  the  minor  aforesaid,  and  that 
he  knoweth  of  no  lawful  impediment  by  reason  of  any 
precontract  Consanguinity  Affinity  or  other  lawful 
cause  whatsoever  to  hinder  the  said  intended  marriage, 
and  prayed  a  license  to  solemnize  the  same  in  the 
Parish  Church  of  Saint  George  Hanover  Square  afore- 
said, and  further  made  Oath  that  the  usual  place  of 
abode  of  him  the  appearer  hath  been  in  the  said 
Parish  of  Saint  George  Hanover  Square  for  the  space 
of  Four  weeks  last  past. 

(Signed)        PERCY  BYSSHE  SHELLEY. 

Sworn  before  me 
(Signed)        SAML  J.  MEYRICK  SUXKTE. 

Also  appeared  personally  the  said  John  Westbrook 
of  the  Parish  of  Saint  George  Hanover  Square  aforesaid, 
Gentleman,  and  made  Oath  that  he  is  the  natural  and 
lawful  father  of  the  said  Harriet  Shelley  (heretofore 
Westbrook,  Spinster)  the  Minor  aforesaid,  and  that  he 
is  consenting  to  the  above  intended  Marriage. 

(Signed)        JOHN  WESTBROOK. 

23  of  March  1814  the  said  John  Westbrook  was 
sworn  before  me 

(Signed)        S.  PARTON  SUR  .  .  . 

Shelley  in  England 

Book  of  Marriages  Vol.  II.  Fo.  189. 

Marriages  in  March  1814.     No.  164. 

Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  and  Harriet  Shelley  (formerly 
Harriet  Westbrook,  Spinster,  a  Minor),  both  of  this 
Parish,  were  remarrie'd  in  this  Church  by  License  (the 
Parties  having  been  already  married  to  each  other 
according  to  the  Rites  and  Ceremonies  of  the  Church  of 
Scotland)  in  order  to  obviate  all  doubts  that  have  arisen 
or  shall  or  may  arise  touching  or  concerning  the  validity 
of  the  aforesaid  Marriage  by  and  with  the  consent  of 
John  Westbrook,  the  natural  and  lawful  Father  of  the 
said  Minor,  this  twenty-fourth  day  of  March  1814. 
by  me  EDWD-  WILLIAMS,  Curate. 


This  Marriage  was       HARRIET  SlIELLEYj  formerl 
solemnised  between  us\     HARRIET  WESTBROOK 

In  the  presence  of        JOHN  WESTBROOK, 

Until  their  return  south  after  the  second  visit  to 
Edinburgh  Bysshe  and  Harriet  seem  to  have  been 
happy  together.  There  is  no  doubt  from  her  letters 
to  Miss  Nugent  that  she  was  devoted  to  him  ;  and  he 
regarded  her  with  sincere  affection. 

For  his   dedication  to  her  in  Queen  Mob  he  had 
written  in  1813 : 

"  Whose  is  the  love  that,  gleaming  through  the  world, 
Wards  off  the  poisonous  arrow  of  its  scorn  ? 
Whose  is  the  warm  and  partial  praise, 
Virtue's  most  sweet  reward  ? 


Parting  from  Harriet 

Beneath  whose  looks  did  my  reviving  soul 
Ripen  in  truth  and  virtuous  daring  grow  ? 

Whose  eyes  have  I  gazed  fondly  on, 

And  loved  mankind  the  more  ? 

Harriet !  on  thine : — 'thou  wert  my  purer  mind ; 
Thou  wert  the  inspiration  of  my  song ; 

Thine  are  these  early  wilding  flowers, 

Though  garlanded  by  me. 

Then  press  unto  thy  breast  this  pledge  of  love ; 

And  know,  though  time  may  change  and  years  may  roll, 

Each  floweret  gather'd  in  my  heart 

It  consecrates  to  thine." 

During  their  short  married  life  of  two  years  Bysshe 
and  Harriet  had  mainly  depended  on  each  other  for 
companionship.  Now  they  were  beginning  to  find 
distractions,  both  after  their  own  tastes.  They  both 
possessed  strong  personal  attractions  for  the  opposite 
sex,  and  clouds  were  gathering.  Harriet  was  but 
eighteen,  though,  since  she  had  been  a  mother,  she 
had  felt  much  older.  "  When  I  look  back,"  she  wrote, 
"  to  the  time  before  I  was  married,  I  seem  to  have 
lived  a  long  time."  Shelley  was  still  undeveloped, 
but  he  had  already  begun  to  feel  his  wings.  His 
Letter  to  Lord  Ellenborough  was  a  proof  that  he  pos- 
sessed gifts  for  writing  prose ;  the  quality  of  his 
letters  to  his  friends  had  improved  ;  and  Queen  Mab 
was  a  not  unworthy  precursor  of  Alastor.  He  was  in 
the  ascendant,  and  poor  Harriet  was  powerless  to 
keep  him  much  longer  by  her  side. 


Shelley  in  England 

Both  Shelley  and  Harriet  were  devoted  to  their 
first  child.  Peacock  tells  us  that  Shelley  "  would 
walk  up  and  down  a  room  with  it  in  his  arms  for  a 
long  time  together,  singing  to  it  a  monotonous  melody 
of  his  own  making,  which  ran  on  the  repetition  of 
a  word  of  his  own  making,  '  Yahmani,  Yahmani, 
Yahmani,  Yahmani.'  It  did  not  please  me,  but,  what 
was  more  important,  it  pleased  the  child,  and  lulled 
it  when  it  was  fretful.  Shelley  was  extremely  fond 
of  his  children.  He  was  pre-eminently  an  affectionate 
father."  Harriet's  letters  to  Miss  Nugent  contain 
several  references  to  her  little  girl,  which  show  that 
she  likewise  was  an  affectionate  mother.  But  she 
refused  to  suckle  the  child,  and,  to  quote  Peacock 
again,  she  provided  it  with  a  wet  nurse  whom  Shelley 
did  not  like,  and  lanthe  was  much  looked  after  by 
his  wife's  sister,  whom  Shelley  intensely  disliked.1 

Eliza  Westbrook,  who  had  come  to  stay  with  the 
Shelleys  shortly  after  their  marriage,  and  had  since 
stuck  to  them  with  the  tenacity  of  a  leech,  must  be 
reckoned  as  an  important  factor  in  our  consideration 
of  Shelley's  separation  from  Harriet.  Had  this  well- 
meaning  woman  left  their  house  some  months  earlier, 
events  still  might  have  righted  themselves.  The 
intense  loathing  with  which  Shelley  regarded  his 

1  I  quote  in  the  following  account  from  a  summary  that  I  wrote  for 
another  publication,  of  the  process  of  Shelley's  separation  from  Harriet. 


Parting  from  Harriet 

sister-in-law  finds  expression  in  his  letter  to  Hogg  on 
March  16,  1814.  A  month  later  Eliza  Westbrook 
departed  from  the  Shelley  household. 

Harriet's  coldness  and  want  of  sympathy  towards 
Shelley  at  this  time  may  have  been  the  result  of  his 
undisguised  dislike  of  her  much-beloved  sister.  "  His 
violent  antipathy,"  says  Hogg,  with  regard  to  Shelley's 
aversion  to  Eliza  Westbrook,  "  was  probably  not  less 
unreasonable  than  his  former  excess  of  deference  and 
blind  compliance  and  concession  towards  a  person 
whose  counsels  and  direction  could  never  have  been 
prudent,  safe,  or  judicious."  At  this  most  critical 
period  Harriet  foolishly  allowed  herself  to  be  influ- 
enced by  her  sister,  under  whose  advice  she  probably 
acted  when,  some  months  earlier,  she  prevailed  upon 
Shelley  to  provide  her  with  a  carriage,  silver  plate, 
and  expensive  clothes.  Shelley's  affairs  at  this  time 
were  already  embarrassed,  and  the  fact  that  Harriet 
should  care  for  such  gew-gaws  was  to  him  altogether 
repugnant,  for  he  had  formerly  described  "  the  ease 
and  simplicity  of  her  habits  "  as  constituting,  in  his 
eyes,  her  greatest  charm. 

After  the  birth  of  her  first  child  Harriet's  manner 
underwent  a  change.  "  Her  studies,"  Hogg  tells  us, 
"which  had  been  so  constant  and  exemplary,  had 
dwindled  away  to  nothing,  and  Bysshe  had  ceased  to 
express  any  interest  in  them,  and  to  urge  her,  as  of 


Shelley  in   England 

old,  to  devote  herself  to  the  cultivation  of  her  mind. 
When  I  called  upon  her,  she  proposed  a  walk,  if  the 
weather  was  fine,  instead  of  the  vigorous  and  con- 
tinuous readings  of  preceding  years.  The  walk  com- 
monly conducted  us  to  some  fashionable  bonnet  shop  ; 
the  reading,  it  is  not  to  be  denied,  was  sometimes 
tiresome ;  the  contemplation  of  bonnets  was  always  so. 
When  I  called  upon  Bysshe,  Harriet  was  often  absent ; 
she  had  gone  out  with  Eliza — gone  to  her  father's. 
Bysshe  himself  was  sometimes  in  London,  and  some- 
times at  Bracknell,  where  he  spent  a  good  deal  of 
his  time  in  visiting  certain  friends  [Mrs.  Boinville 
and  her  daughter],  with  whom  at  this  period  he  was 
in  close  alliance,  and  upon  terms  of  the  greatest 
intimacy,  and  by  which  connection  his  subsequent 
conduct,  I  think,  was  much  influenced."  l 

Shelley  found  Madame  de  Boinville  "  the  most 
admirable  specimen  of  a  human  being  "  he  had  ever 
seen,  although  in  later  years  he  had  reason  to  believe 
that  "  it  was  hardly  possible  for  a  person  of  the  extreme 
subtlety  and  delicacy  of  Mrs.  Boinville's  understanding 
and  affections  to  be  quite  sincere  and  constant." 
Hogg  distrusted  her ;  he  did  not  appreciate  the  mis- 
cellaneous company  of  faddists  who  were  to  be  met 
at  her  house  ;  but  her  society  stimulated  Shelley's 
intellectual  development,  and  caused  him  to  view  the 

1  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  ii.  pp.  500-501. 

Parting  from   Harriet 

narrow  outlook  of  Harriet  and  her  sister  with  dis- 

Shelley's  re-marriage,  on  March  24,  cannot  be 
adduced  as  a  proof  of  his  affection  for  Harriet.  His 
state  of  mind  at  this  time  is  reflected  in  those  stanzas 
which  he  probably  wrote  just  before  he  concluded  his 
visit  to  Mrs.  Boinville.  They  are  dated  April  1814, 
when  he  contemplated,  with  a  sinking  heart,  his 
inevitable  return  to  an  existence  of  dreary  monotony 
with  Harriet  and  her  sister. 


Away  !  the  moor  is  dark  beneath  the  moon, 

Rapid  clouds  have  drunk  the  last  pale  beam  of  even : 
Away  !  the  gathering  winds  will  call  the  darkness  soon, 

And  profoundest  midnight  shroud  the  serene  lights  of  heaven. 
Pause  not !     The  time  is  past !     Every  voice  cries,  Away  ! 

Tempt  not  with  one  last  tear  thy  friend's  ungentle  mood  : 
Thy  lover's  eye,  so  glazed  and  cold,  dares  not  entreat  thy  stay: 

Duty  and  dereliction  guide  thee  back  to  solitude. 

Away,  away  !  to  thy  sad  and  silent  home ; 

Pour  bitter  tears  on  its  desolated  hearth  ; 
Watch  the  dim  shades  as  like  ghosts  they  go  and  come, 

And  complicate  strange  webs  of  melancholy  mirth  ; 
The  leaves  of  wasted  autumn  woods  shall  float  around  thine  head, 

The  blooms  of  dewy  spring  shall  gleam  beneath  thy  feet  : 
But  thy  soul  or  this  world  must  fade  in  the  frost  that  binds  the  dead, 

Ere  midnight's  frown  and  morning's  smile,  ere  thou  and  peace 
may  meet. 

The  cloud  shadows  of  midnight  possess  their  own  repose, 
For  the  weary  winds  are  silent,  or  the  moon  is  in  the  deep  ; 

Some  respite  to  its  turbulence  unresting  ocean  knows  ; 
Whatever  moves  or  toils,  or  grieves,  hath  its  appointed  sleep. 


Shelley  in  England 

Thou  in  the  grave  shall  rest — yet  till  the  phantoms  flee 

Which  that  house  and  heath  and  garden  made  dear  to  thee  ere- 

Thy  remembrance,  and  repentance,  and  deep  musings,  are  not  free, 
From  the  music  of  two  voices  and  the  light  of  one  sweet  smile. 

According  to  Mrs.  Boinville's  letter  to  Hogg  of 
April  18, 18I4,1  Shelley  was  then  at  Bracknell.  Harriet 
had  gone  to  town,  presumably  to  her  father's,  and 
Eliza  Westbrook  had  taken  her  departure.  Although 
Harriet  had  now  become  cold  and  proud,  Shelley  still 
hoped  to  regain  her  love,  and  in  some  verses  inscribed 
"  To  Harriet,  1814,"  2  he  makes  a  pathetic  appeal  to 
her  affection.  Whether  Harriet  was  moved  by  this 
appeal  or  not,  we  do  not  know.  She  evidently  never 
intended  to  alienate  herself  from  Shelley,  but  she  was 
staying  at  Bath,  with  her  father,  during  the  early  days 
of  July,  while  Shelley  had  remained  in  London  since 
the  end  of  May,  excepting  for  a  period  of  ten  days, 
from  June  8th  to  the  i8th.  Shelley,  however,  still 
continued  to  correspond  with  Harriet,  as  is  shown 
by  the  following  letter  which  she  addressed  to 
Thomas  Hookham  on  July  6  or  7,  1814,  from  6 
Queen's  Square,  Bath. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — You  will  greatly  oblige  me  by  giving 
the  enclosed  to  Mr.  Shelley.  I  would  not  trouble  you, 
but  it  is  now  four  days  since  I  have  heard  from  him, 

1  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  ii.  p.  553. 

2  First  printed  in  Professor  Dowden's  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  i.  p.  413. 


Parting  from   Harriet 

which  to  me  is  an  age.  Will  you  write  by  return  of 
post,  and  tell  me  what  has  become  of  him?  If  you 
tell  me  that  he  is  well,  I  shall  not  come  to  London ;  but 
if  I  do  not  hear  from  you  or  him,  I  shall  certainly 
come,  as  I  cannot  endure  this  dreadful  state  of  sus- 
pense. You  are  his  friend,  and  you  can  feel  for  me. — 
I  remain,  yours  truly,  H.  S. 

Although  Shelley's  own  pecuniary  affairs  in  1814 
were  most  unsatisfactory,  his  admiration  for  Godwin 
was  such  that  he  engaged  to  help  him  out  of  his 
embarrassments  by  assisting  him  to  raise  a  sum  of 
money,  said  to  be  no  less  than  three  thousand  pounds. 
This  was  the  first  of  these  negotiations  on  behalf  of 
Godwin,  which  continued  to  be  such  a  source  of  trouble 
to  Shelley  almost  till  his  last  days.  He  had  not  been 
to  Godwin's  house  since  March  22,  when  he  went 
with  him  to  procure  his  marriage  licence.  But  it  was 
now  necessary  for  Shelley  to  be  much  in  Godwin's 
company,  and  after  he  returned  to  London  on  July  18 
he  joined  the  Skinner  Street  household  each  day  at 
dinner.  It  was  during  these  days  that  Shelley  first 
came  in  contact  with  Mary  Godwin,  who  had  just 
returned  from  Scotland  on  a  visit  to  the  Baxters. 
On  June  8,  the  date  of  Lord  Cochrane's  trial,  Hogg 
first  saw  Mary  Godwin.  He  met  Shelley  in  Cheapside, 
and  walked  with  him  through  Newgate  Street  to 
Godwin's  shop  in  Skinner  Street.  Shelley  inquired 

Shelley  in   England 

for  Godwin,  who  was  not  at  home,  and,  while  he  was 
waiting  for  the  philosopher  in  his  book-room,  "  the 
door  was  partially  and  softly  opened.  A  thrilling 
voice  called,  '  Shelley ! '  A  thrilling  voice  answered, 
'  Mary  !  '  And  he  darted  out  of  the  room  like  an 
arrow  from  the  bow  of  the  far-shooting  king.  A 
very  young  female,  fair  and  fair-headed,  pale  indeed, 
with  a  piercing  look,  wearing  a  frock  of  tartan,  an 
unusual  dress  in  London  at  the  time,  had  called  him 
out  of  the  room.  He  was  absent  a  very  short  time — 
a  minute  or  two — and  then  returned.  '  Godwin  is 
out ;  there  is  no  use  in  waiting.'  So  we  continued 
our  walk  along  Holborn.  '  Who  was  that,  pray  ? ' 
I  asked  ;  '  a  daughter  ?  '  '  Yes/  '  A  daughter  of 
William  Godwin  ?  '  '  The  daughter  of  Godwin  and 
Mary.'  " 

The  shop  at  Skinner  Street  was  the  recognised 
place  of  pilgrimage  for  those  who  venerated  the  name 
of  Mary  Wollstonecraft.  Godwin  had  gone  to  live 
there  after  her  death,  but  there  were  still  some  relics 
that  lingered  about  the  place  to  remind  the  visitor 
of  her  memory.  Godwin  himself  was  there,  and  his 
young  daughter  who  bore  her  mother's  name,  Mary 
Wollstonecraft,  while  Opie's  fine  painting  of  the 
author  of  A  Vindication  of  the  Rights  of  Woman 
looked  down  from  its  place  over  the  chimney-piece  in 
the  parlour. 


Parting  from  Harriet 

Mary  was  now  a  girl  of  sixteen,  with  a  head  and  neck 
afterwards  compared  to  a  bust  of  Clytie,  and  she  was 
devoted  to  her  mother's  memory,  of  whose  life  she  had 
heard  at  least  something  from  her  father's  lips.  The 
girl  was  accustomed  to  visit  her  mother's  grave  in 
St.  Pancras  Churchyard,  and  here,  it  is  said,  she  and 
Shelley  plighted  their  troth  in  the  summer  of  1814. 
Some  lines  which  Shelley  addressed  to  Mary,  said l  to 
have  been  written  in  the  June  of  this  year,  are  a 
confession  of  his  passion  : 


Mine  eyes  were  dim  with  tears  unshed ; 

Yes,  I  was  firm — thus  wert  not  thou  ; 
My  baffled  looks  did  fear  yet  dread 

To  meet  thy  looks — I  could  not  know 
How  anxiously  they  sought  to  shine 
With  soothing  pity  upon  mine. 

To  sit  and  curb  the  soul's  mute  rage 

Which  preys  upon  itself  alone  ; 
To  curse  the  life  which  is  the  cage 

Of  fettered  grief  that  dares  not  groan, 
Hiding  from  many  a  careless  eye 
The  scorned  load  of  agony. 

Whilst  thou  alone,  then  not  regarded 

The  [        ]  thou  alone  should  be 
To  spend  years  thus,  and  be  rewarded, 

As  thou,  sweet  love,  requited  me 
When  none  were  near — Oh  !  I  did  wake 
From  torture  for  that  moment's  sake. 

1  By  Dr.  Richard  Garnett. 

433  2E 

Shelley  in  England 

Upon  my  heart  thy  accents  sweet 

Of  peace  and  pity  fell  like  dew 
On  flowers  half  dead  ; — thy  lips  did  meet 

Mine  tremblingly  ;  thy  dark  eyes  threw 
Their  soft  persuasion  on  my  brain, 
Charming  away  its  dream  of  pain. 

We  are  not  happy,  sweet !  our  state 
Is  strange,  and  full  of  doubt  and  fear ; 

More  need  of  words  that  ills  abate  ; 
Reserve  or  censure  come  not  near 

Our  sacred  friendship,  lest  there  be 

No  solace  left  for  thou  and  me. 

Gentle  and  good  and  mild  thou  art, 

Nor  can  I  live  if  thou  appear 
Aught  but  thyself,  or  turn  thine  heart 

Away  from  me,  or  stoop  to  wear 
The  mask  of  scorn,  although  it  be 
To  hide  the  love  thou  feel'st  for  me. 

One  other  written  proof  of  their  love-making  is  still 
extant.  It  is  in  a  copy  of  Queen  Mob  which  Shelley 
gave  her,  and  wrote  inside  the  cover  in  pencil,  "  Mary 
Wollstonecraft  Godwin,  P.B.S.,"  and  in  another  place, 
"  You  see,  Mary,  I  have  not  forgotten  you."  From 
this  book  he  had  removed,  as  was  his  custom,  the 
title-page  and  the  imprint  at  the  end,  but  he  retained 
the  dedication  to  Harriet,  and  wrote  below  it  care- 
fully in  ink  :  "  Count  Slobendorf  was  about  to  marry 
a  woman  who,  attracted  solely  by  his  fortune,  proved 
his  selfishness  by  deserting  him  in  prison." 

Mary  wrote  on  the  fly-leaves  at  the  end  of  the 
volume  :  "  July  1814.  This  book  is  sacred  to  me, 


Parting  from  Harriet 

and  as  no  other  creature  shall  ever  look  into  it,  I  may 
•write  in  it  what  I  please — yet  what  shall  I  write  ? — 
that  I  love  the  author  beyond  all  the  powers  of  ex- 
pression, and  that  I  am  parted  from  him,  dearest  and 
only  love — by  that  love  we  have  promised  to  each 
other,  although  I  may  not  be  yours,  I  can  never  be 
another's.  But  I  am  thine,  exclusively  thine. 

"  '  By  the  kiss  of  love,  the  glance  none  saw  beside, 

The  smile  none  else  might  understand, 
The  whispered  thought  of  hearts  allied, 
The  pressure  of  the  thrilling  hand.' 1 

"  I  have  pledged  myself  to  thee,  and  sacred  is  the 
gift.  I  remember  your  words  :  '  You  are  now,  Mary, 
going  to  mix  with  many,  and  for  a  moment  I  shall 
depart,  but  in  the  solitude  of  your  chamber  I  shall 
be  with  you.'  Yes,  you  are  ever  with  me,  sacred 

" '  But  ah  !  I  feel  in  this  was  given 

A  blessing  never  meant  for  me, 
Thou  art  too  like  a  dream  from  heaven 
For  earthly  love  to  merit  thee.'  "  2 

Suggestions  have  been  made  that  Harriet  was  un- 
faithful to  Shelley  before  their  separation,  and  that 
she  was  in  love  with  a  Major  Ryan,  who  is  mentioned 
in  her  correspondence  with  Miss  Nugent.  Apparently 
there  is  nothing  to  support  this  supposition  ;  on  the 

1  From  Byron's  "  To  Thyrza,"  the  first  line  is  altered. 

2  From  Byron's  lines  beginning  "  If  sometimes  in  the  haunts  of  men." 


Shelley  in  England 

contrary,  the  evidence  is  entirely  in  her  favour. 
Peacock,  Hogg,  and  Hookham,  all  of  whom  knew  her 
intimately,  believed  her  to  be  perfectly  innocent  of 
any  guilt,  and  Thornton,  Hunt,  and  Trelawny  shared 
the  same  belief.  On  the  other  hand,  Shelley  is  said  to 
have  been  convinced  to  the  contrary  in  July  1814, 
and  to  have  held  this  opinion  to  the  day  of  his  death. 
But  if  Shelley  had  not  thought  her  guilty,  the  fact 
that  he  was  certain  she  no  longer  loved  him  was 
sufficient  in  his  sight  to  make  it  impossible  for  him 
to  live  with  Harriet  as  her  husband. 

The  convictions  on  the  subject  of  marriage  that 
he  had  expressed  in  Queen  Mob  in  1813  remained  his 
convictions  in  1814.  He  felt  he  was  free  to  give  his 
heart  to  Mary,  with  whom  he  was  now  deeply  in  love. 
Harriet  failed  to  realise  that  she  had  lost  Shelley,  and 
she  came  to  London,  at  his  request,  on  July  14,  when 
he  disclosed  to  her  his  position.  Peacock  says  :  "  The 
separation  did  not  take  place  by  mutual  consent. 
I  cannot  think  that  Shelley  ever  so  represented  it. 
He  never  did  so  to  me ;  and  the  account  which 
Harriet  herself  gave  me  of  the  entire  proceeding  was 
decidedly  contradictory  to  any  such  supposition.  He 
might  well  have  said,  after  seeing  Mary  Wollstonecraft 
Godwin,  '  Ut  vidi  !  ut  peril ! '  Nothing  that  I  ever 
read  in  tale  or  history  could  ever  present  a  more 
striking  image  of  a  sudden,  violent,  irresistible,  un- 


Parting  from   Harriet 

controllable  passion  than  that  under  which  I  found 
him  labouring  when,  at  his  request,  I  went  up  from  the 
country  to  call  on  him  in  London.  Between  his  old 
feelings  towards  Harriet,  from  whom  he  was  not  then 
separated,  and  his  new  passion  for  Mary,  he  showed  in 
his  looks,  in  his  gestures,  in  his  speech,  the  state  of 
a  mind  suffering,  '  like  a  little  kingdom,  the  nature  of 
an  insurrection.'  His  eyes  were  bloodshot,  his  hair 
and  dress  disordered.  He  caught  up  a  bottle  of 
laudanum,  and  said,  '  I  never  part  from  this/  He 
added,  '  I  am  always  repeating  your  lines  from 
"  Sophocles" : 

'  "  Man's  happiest  lot  is  not  to  be ; 

And  when  we  tread  life's  thorny  steep, 
Most  blest  are  they,  who  earliest  free 
Descend  to  Earth's  eternal  sleep."  ' 

Again,  he  said  more  calmly,  '  Everyone  who  knows 
me  must  know  that  the  partner  of  my  life  should  be 
one  who  can  feel  poetry  and  understand  philosophy. 
Harriet  is  a  noble  animal,  but  she  can  do  neither/ 
I  said,  '  It  always  appeared  to  me  that  you  were  very 
fond  of  Harriet/  Without  affirming  or  denying  this 
he  answered,  '  But  you  did  not  know  how  I  hated 
her  sister  !  '  " 



Shelley's  elopement  with  Mary  Godwin — His  letter  to  Harriet — 
Poverty  in  London — Birth  of  Charles  Bysshe  Shelley — Death  of 
Sir  Bysshe  Shelley — His  will — Shelley's  income — Life  at  Bishop- 
gate — The  maintenance  of  Shelley's  children — Shelley  acts  on  the 
stage  at  Windsor — The  case  of  Du  Cane  v.  Shelley — Alastor — 
Shelley's  second  visit  to  the  Continent — Godwin's  unfriendly 
attitude — Shelley  returns  to  England — Makes  his  will — The  death 
of  Fanny  Godwin — Death  of  Harriet  Shelley — Inquest  on  her  body 
— Her  grave. 

HAVING  reached  that  point  when  Shelley  parted  from 
Harriet,  I  shall  in  the  following  chapters  tell  as  much 
of  his  life  as  is  necessary  to  illustrate  the  unpublished 
material  in  the  Shelley-Whitton  papers. 

Mary  Godwin,  accompanied  by  Clare  Clairmont,1  left 
her  father's  shop  in  Skinner  Street  at  five  o'clock 
on  the  morning  of  July  28,  1814,  walked  to  the 
corner  of  Hatton  Garden,  and  found  Shelley  in  wait- 
ing with  a  post-chaise.  At  the  moment  of  parting, 
Clare  was  persuaded  to  enter  the  carriage  with  Mary, 
as  she  could  speak  French,  which  was  an  attainment 
that  neither  Shelley  nor  Mary  possessed.  It  was  a 

1  Clara  Jane  Mary  Clairmont,  who  was  known  in  her  family  as  Jane, 
adopted  the  name  of  Clare,  Clara,  or  Claire  towards  the  end  of  the 
year  1814. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

blazingly  hot  day,  hotter  than  had  been  known  for 
many  years  in  England,  and  Mary  was  overcome  with 
faintness,  so  that  it  was  found  necessary  for  her  to 
rest  at  each  stage.  But  these  delays  gave  Shelley 
some  anxious  moments,  and  at  Dartford  he  took  four 
horses  in  order  to  outstrip  pursuit.  Dover  was  reached 
before  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  Mary  re- 
freshed herself  with  a  sea -bath.  The  fugitives,  who 
were  too  impatient  to  wait  until  the  following  day 
for  the  packet,  hired  a  small  boat  and  resolved  to 
cross  the  Channel  the  same  evening,  the  seamen 
promising  them  a  passage  of  two  hours.  The  evening 
was  beautifully  fine,  but  as  night  came  on  and  the 
moon  rose  a  heavy  swell  and  a  fresh  breeze  produced 
a  rough  sea.  The  journey  was  prolonged  by  the  bad 
weather  ;  Mary  was  very  ill,  and  she  rested  against 
Shelley's  knees  as  hour  after  hour  went  by.  Suddenly 
a  thunder  squall  struck  the  sail,  the  boat  was  in  peril 
and  almost  overturned,  but  the  wind  then  changed 
and  they  made  straight  for  Calais.  Mary  at  length 
fell  asleep,  and  still  slumbered  while  Shelley  watched 
the  sun  rise  over  France. 

Mrs.  Godwin  had  started  in  pursuit  of  the  girls  as 
soon  as  they  were  missed  ;  she  crossed,  on  the  follow- 
ing day,  in  the  packet  for  which  Shelley  had  refused 
to  wait,  and  managed  to  catch  them  up  at  Calais. 
Shelley  was  informed  "  that  a  fat  lady  had  arrived, 


Shelley  in  England 

who  said  that  he  had  run  away  with  her  daughter." 
The  lady  was,  of  course,  Mrs.  Godwin.  Clare  spent 
the  night  with  her  mother,  who  endeavoured  to  induce 
her  to  return  home.  On  the  following  day  Clare  was 
undecided  what  to  do,  until  Shelley  counselled  her  to 
take  time  to  consider,  whereupon  she  chose  to  bear 
Mary  company.  So  Mrs.  Godwin  went  back  alone, 
and  "  without  answering  a  word." 

The  two  girls,  dressed  in  black  satin,  now  proceeded 
with  Shelley  towards  Paris,  where  they  remained  for 
a  week.  Shelley,  with  characteristic  want  of  fore- 
sight, had  neglected  to  provide  himself  with  sufficient 
money,  and  he  was  forced  to  sell  his  watch  and  chain 
for  eight  napoleons.  But  he  managed  to  obtain 
further  funds  from  a  French  man  of  business,  and 
they  were  then  able  to  continue  their  journey  towards 
Switzerland.  They  purchased  a  donkey  with  the  in- 
tention of  riding  him  by  turns,  but  the  poor  beast 
was  scarcely  able  to  carry  their  portmanteau,  much 
less  one  of  the  party.  So  they  sold  him  and  purchased 
a  mule,  which  for  some  time  carried  Mary  and  the 
luggage.  This  arrangement  continued,  Shelley  and 
Clare  walking  beside  the  animal,  until  the  poet  hurt 
his  ankle  on  August  12,  and  was  obliged  to  ride  while 
the  girls  followed  him  on  foot.  The  same  evening 
they  reached  Troyes,  and  on  the  day  after  Shelley 
wrote  to  Harriet. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  Harriet  Shelley 

TROVES  (120  miles  from  Paris  on 

the  way  to  Switzerland) , 

Aug.  13,  1814. 

MY  DEAREST  HARRIET, — I  write  to  you  from  this 
detestable  town  :  I  write  to  show  that  I  do  not  forget 
you  :  I  write  to  urge  you  to  come  to  Switzerland, 
where  you  will  at  least  find  one  firm  and  constant 
friend,  to  whom  your  interests  will  be  always  dear — 
by  whom  your  feelings  will  never  wilfully  be  injured. 
From  none  can  you  expect  this  but  me — all  else  are 
unfeeling  or  selfish,  or  have  beloved  friends  of  their 
own  as  Mrs.  B[oinville],  to  whom  their  attention  and 
affection  is  confined. 

I  will  write  at  length  from  Neufchatel  or  you  direct 
your  letters  "  d'etre  laisse  a  la  Bureau  de  Poste  Neuf- 
chatel " — until  you  hear  again. 

We  have  journeyed  from  Paris  on  foot  with  a  mule 
to  carry  our  baggage  ;  and  Mary,  who  has  not  been 
sufficiently  well  to  walk,  fears  the  fatigue  of  walking. 

We  passed  through  a  fertile  country,  neither  inter- 
esting from  the  character  of  its  inhabitants  nor  the 
beauty  of  the  scenery.  We  came  120  miles  in  four 
days ;  the  last  two  days  we  passed  over  the  country 
that  was  the  seat  of  war.  I  cannot  describe  to  you 
the  frightful  desolation  of  this  scene ;  village  after 
village  entirely  ruined  and  burned,  the  white  ruins 
towering  in  innumerable  forms  of  destruction  among 
the  beautiful  trees.  The  inhabitants  were  famished  ; 
families  once  independent  now  beg  their  bread  in  this 
wretched  country  ;  no  provisions ;  no  accommoda- 
tion ;  filth,  misery,  and  famine  everywhere.  (You 
will  see  nothing  of  this  on  your  route  to  Geneva.) 


Shelley  in  England 

I  must  remark  to  you  that,  dreadful  as  the  calamities 
are,  I  can  scarcely  pity  the  inhabitants  ;  they  are  the 
most  unamiable,  inhospitable,  and  unaccommodating 
of  the  human  race.  We  go  by  some  carriage  from  this 
town  to  Neufchatel,  because  I  have  strained  my  leg 
and  am  unable  to  walk.  I  hope  to  be  recovered  by 
that  time ;  but  on  our  last  day's  journey  I  was  per- 
fectly unable  to  walk.  Mary  resigned  the  mule  to 
me.  Our  walk  has  been,  excepting  this,  sufficiently 
agreeable  ;  we  have  met  none  of  the  robbers  they 
prophesied  at  Paris.  You  shall  hear  our  adventures 
more  detailed  if  I  do  not  hear  at  Neufchatel  that  I 
am  soon  to  have  the  pleasure  of  communicating  to 
you  in  person,  and  of  welcoming  you  to  some  sweet 
retreat  I  will  procure  for  you  among  the  mountains. 

I  have  written  to  Peacock  to  superintend  money 
affairs  :  he  is  expensive,  inconsiderate,  and  cold,  but 
surely  not  utterly  perfidious  and  unfriendly  and  un- 
mindful of  our  kindness  to  him  :  besides,  interest 
will  secure  his  attention  to  these  things.  I  wish  you 
to  bring  with  you  the  two  deeds  which  Tahourdin  has 
to  prepare  for  you,  as  also  a  copy  of  the  settlement. 
Do  not  part  with  any  of  your  money.  But  what  shall 
be  done  about  the  books  ?  You  can  consult  on  the 
spot.  With  love  to  my  sweet  little  lanthe,  ever  most 
affectionately  yours,  g 

I  write  in  great  haste  :  we  depart  directly.1 

This  letter  reveals  the  side  of  Shelley's  character 
that  enabled  him  to  arrive  at 'a  decision  without  re- 
gard to  conventions.  His  suggestion  that  Harriet 

1  From  Dowden's  Life  of  Shelley. 

The  Death  of  Harriet 

should  join  him  on  his  holiday  with  Mary  and  Clare 
would  have  been  not  only  extraordinary  but  base, 
were  it  not  clear  that  he  was  thoroughly  sincere. 
Notwithstanding  his  conviction  that  Harriet  had  de- 
serted him,  and  that  he  could  no  longer  be  a  husband 
to  her,  he  believed  he  could  still  stand  by  her  as  her 
best  friend,  and  one  who  was  bound  to  continue  to 
take  an  interest  in  her  welfare. 

At  the  date  of  Shelley's  visit  to  the  Continent, 
France  had  all  but  seen  the  last  of  Napoleon,  who  had 
abdicated  some  two  months  earlier  and  withdrawn 
himself  to  exile  at  Elba,  while  Bourbon  Louis  XVIII 
reigned  over  a  people  exhausted  by  a  twenty  years'  war. 
Shelley  passed  over  ground  that  still  bore  the  scars  of 
battle  and  plunder,  where,  but  a  few  months  before, 
Napoleon's  wearied  legions  had  been  in  deadly  conflict 
with  the  Prussians.  It  is  unlikely  that  these  scenes 
of  desolation  were  ever  effaced  from  Shelley's  mind. 

At  Troyes  the  mule  was  sold,  an  open  carriage  pur- 
chased for  five  napoleons,  and  a  driver,  who  proved 
incompetent,  was  engaged.  A  week  later  they  had 
reached  Neufchatel.  Here  Shelley  obtained  a  small 
sum  of  money,  and  with  it  he  pressed  on  to  the  Lake 
of  Lucerne,  where  he  engaged  two  rooms  in  a  chateau 
at  Brunnen  at  a  louis  a  month  for  six  months.  He 
was  probably  unable  to  take  them  for  a  shorter  period, 
but  they  were  only  occupied  for  forty-eight  hours, 


Shelley  in  England 

when  the  travellers  decided  to  turn  their  faces  towards 
England.  It  was  Shelley's  hope  that,  by  taking  ad- 
vantage of  the  Reuss  and  Rhine,  he  would  be  able  to 
perform  the  journey  entirely  by  water.  Travelling 
through  Germany  and  Holland,  they  made  a  brave 
attempt  to  carry  out  his  plan,  but  they  sometimes 
found  it  necessary  to  take  a  land  conveyance.  Arriving 
at  length  at  Rotterdam,  they  sailed  on  September  8  for 
London,  which  they  reached  on  September  13. 

From  the  day  that  Mary  joined  her  lot  with  Shelley 
they  kept  a  joint  diary.  From  this  journal,  with  the 
addition  of  some  letters  written  home  to  Peacock, 
Mary  compiled  a  little  account  of  this  journey  and 
their  later  visit  to  the  Continent,  which  was  subse- 
quently published  in  1817,  with  the  title  History  of  a 
Six  Weeks  Tour  through  a  Part  of  France,  Switzerland, 
Germany,  and  Holland.  Shelley  on  his  arrival  in 
London  was  penniless,  and  not  having  the  where- 
withal even  to  pay  for  his  passage  and  meet  other 
smaller  charges,  he  drove  at  once  to  his  bank,  to  find 
that  all  his  funds  had  been  drawn.  Miss  Clairmont 
stated  that  while  abroad  Shelley  had  instructed  his 
banker  to  honour  Harriet's  calls  for  money  as  far  as 
his  funds  allowed.  Shelley  applied  to  Harriet,  who 
gave  him  a  sum  of  twenty  pounds,  and  who  added 
"  the  reproaches  of  an  injured  wife."  * 

1  Professor  Dowden's  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  i.  pp.  463-4. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

Shortly  after  Shelley  and  Mary  arrived  in  London 
they  engaged  lodgings  at  56  Margaret  Street,  Cavendish 
Square,  and  for  the  present  Clare  remained  with  them. 
Shelley  took  an  early  opportunity  of  writing  to  William 
Godwin,  who  replied  that  in  future  he  would  only 
receive  communications  through  his  solicitor.  Gos- 
sipers  had  been  busy,  and  it  was  whispered  that 
Godwin  had  sold  his  own  girl  Mary,  and  his  wife's 
daughter  Clare  Clairmont,  to  Shelley  for  £800  and 
£700  respectively.  That  this  was  merely  a  rumour, 
and  that  Shelley,  who,  in  eloping  with  Mary,  had  done 
no  more  than  put  Godwin's  early  anti-matrimonial 
teaching  into  practice,  did  not  make  the  slander  easier 
to  bear.  Godwin's  philosophical  calm  for  once  was 
shaken,  and,  vital  as  Shelley's  aid  was  to  his  existence, 
he  was  resolved  to  accept  it,  but  with  a  gloved  hand. 
Shelley  did  not  display  any  resentment  or  bad  feeling 
towards  Godwin  for  his  aloofness.  He  still  regarded 
the  author  of  Political  Justice,  and  the  father  of  his 
Mary,  as  the  fountain-head  of  wisdom  and  truth, 
and  he  did  not  relax  in  his  endeavours  to  serve 

Shelley's  diary  during  these  days  shows  that  he 
was  again  reading,  with  many  other  books,  Political 
Justice,  and  that  visits  were  frequently  paid  to  Harriet, 
and  received  from  Hogg,  Hookham,  and  almost  daily 
from  Peacock.  Shelley  spent  much  of  his  time  in 


Shelley  in  England 

endeavouring  to  raise  money  for  his  own  needs  as  well 
as  for  those  of  Godwin.  But  he  found  that  money  was 
very  scarce,  and  he  could  not  obtain  any.  As  October 
dragged  on,  Shelley  was  again  in  danger  of  arrest 
at  the  instance  of  his  creditors,  and  he  had  to  leave 
his  lodgings  and  go  into  hiding  for  fear  of  the  bailiffs. 
Mary  could  only  meet  him  furtively  at  odd  places, 
such  as  Staple  Inn  or  Bartlett's  Buildings,  a  quiet 
cul  de  sac  at  the  end  of  Skinner  Street,  off  Snow  Hill, 
or  at  St.  Paul's  Cathedral.  They  had  been  obliged  to 
change  their  rooms  more  than  once.  One  day,  when 
they  were  living  in  the  squalor  of  a  St.  Pancras  lodging- 
house,  the  people  demanded  their  money,  and,  on  being 
disappointed,  refused  to  send  up  the  dinner  to  the 
hungry  young  people.  Events  now  shaped  them- 
selves so  as  to  contribute  thoroughly  to  Shelley's  and 
Mary's  misery.  They  had  to  endure  dire  poverty  and 
dismal  accounts  of  affairs  at  Skinner  Street.  Godwin, 
moreover,  was  irreconcilable,  Mrs.  Godwin  slanderous, 
and  Clare  often  moody,  sullen,  and  in  the  way.  Har- 
riet, so  Shelley  believed,  was  plotting  with  Hookham, 
from  whom  he  had  hopes  of  help  in  the  way  of  bail 
from  his  creditors.  These  trials  served,  if  anything, 
to  draw  Shelley  and  Mary  together,  and,  as  they  could 
not  always  meet,  they  wrote  to  one  another  love- 
letters  full  of  faith  for  the  future.  Mary,  lonely,  paid 
frequent  visits  to  the  tomb  of  her  mother,  Mary 


The   Death  of  Harriet 

Wollstonecraft,  at  St.  Pancras  Churchyard,  and  one 
day  she  went  there  to  read  her  father's  Essay  on 
Sepulchres.  On  Sundays  Shelley,  safe  from  his  pur- 
suers, was  able  to  return  home,  to  his  and  Mary's  de- 
light. November  6  was  one  of  these  happy  occasions, 
and  Mary  wrote  in  the  diary  :  "  Talk  to  Shelley.  He 
writes  a  heap  of  letters.  Read  part  of  St.  Leon.  Talk 
to  him  all  the  evening  ;  this  is  a  day  devoted  to  Love 
in  idleness.  Go  to  sleep  early  in  the  evening.  Shelley 
goes  away  a  little  before  10." 

On  December  6  Shelley  heard  that  Harriet  had 
given  birth  to  a  son.  This  intelligence  was  conveyed 
to  him  in  a  letter  from  Hookham,  and  also  in  one 
from  Harriet  herself,  telling  him  that  the  child  had 
been  born  a  week.  Mary  noted  in  the  diary  on  this 
date,  with  a  touch  of  resentment :  "  Shelley  writes  a 
number  of  circular  letters  of  this  event,  which  ought 
to  be  ushered  in  with  ringing  of  bells,  &c.,  for  it  is  the 
son  of  his  wife  "  ;  and  she  speaks  of  Harriet's  letter, 
which  was  written  as  "  from  a  deserted  wife."  On  the 
following  day  Shelley  called  on  Harriet,  "  who,"  said 
Mary,  "  treats  him  with  insulting  selfishness." 

Harriet  told  her  Irish  correspondent,  Miss  Nugent, 
on  December  n  that  she  had  "  been  confined  a  fort- 
night on  Wednesday — that  is  to  say,  on  November  30. 
He  is  an  eight  months'  child,  and  very  like  his  un- 
fortunate father,  who  is  more  depraved  than  ever.  .  .  . 


Shelley  in  England 

He  is  a  very  fine  child  for  the  time.  I  have  seen  his 
father  :  he  came  to  see  me  as  soon  as  he  knew  of  the 
event :  but  as  to  his  tenderness  to  me  none  remains. 
He  said  he  was  glad  it  was  a  boy,  because  he  would 
make  money  cheaper.  You  see  how  that  noble  soul 
is  debased.  Money  now,  not  philosophy,  is  the  grand 
spring  of  his  actions.  Indeed,  the  pure  and  enlightened 
philosophy  he  once  delighted  in  has  flown.  He  is  no 
longer  that  pure  and  good  being  he  once  was,  nor  can 
he  ever  retrieve  himself." 

Shelley  was,  in  legal  phraseology,  tenant  in  tail 
male  in  remainder  expectant  on  the  deaths  of  his 
grandfather  and  father.  He  had  in  1814,  on  the  occa- 
sion of  the  transaction  with  the  Messrs.  Nash,  levied  a 
fine  without  the  concurrence  of  his  grandfather  or 
father.  Such  fine  created  what  is  termed  a  base  fee, 
i.e.  an  estate  which  would  continue  so  long  as  he  had 
issue  male.  Shelley  certainly  was  anxious  to  procure 
money,  and  much  of  his  time,  since  his  return  from  the 
Continent,  had  been  occupied  with  lawyers  and  money- 
lenders ;  he  wanted  money  for  Godwin,  and  to  relieve 
his  own  necessities,  which  were  so  pressing  that  he 
had  been  living  for  many  weeks  in  daily  expectation 
of  arrest  for  debt.  He  had  applied  through  his  soli- 
citor to  Mr.  Shelley  for  an  increase  in  his  allowance, 
and  Mr.  Whitton  replied,  on  December  10,  that  "  Mr. 
P.  B.  Shelley  is  well  aware  that  his  father  has  not  the 


The  Death   of  Harriet 

means  ...  of  making  to  him  a  greater  allowance 
than  he  now  does."  Shelley  was  in  want  of  a  sum  of 
£2000,  of  which  he  intended  to  devote  £1200  to  Godwin, 
and  the  rest  he  required  for  his  own  debts.  Whitton 
discussed  the  question  of  effecting  a  re-settlement  of 
the  estates  with  Mr.  Tim  Shelley,  or  of  obtaining  for 
him  in  fee  the  estate  under  the  will  of  John  Shelley, 
the  brother  of  Sir  Bysshe.  Neither  of  these  sugges- 
tions could  be  put  into  practice  without  the  concur- 
rence of  Sir  Bysshe,  to  whom  it  was  inadvisable  to 
write,  as  he  was  now  very  old,  ailing,  and  indeed 
nearing  his  end.  Mr.  Shelley,  whose  object  was  to 
put  a  check  on  his  son's  transactions,  learnt  some  days 
later  that  Bysshe  had  arranged  for  the  sale  of  a  post 
obit  of  £10,000  for  a  sum  of  £3000. 

Sir  Bysshe  died  on  January  5,  1815,  and  on  the 
following  day  Whitton  wrote  to  inform  Amory,  Shelley's 
then  solicitor,  of  this  event,  and  begged  him  to  prevent 
"  the  young  gentleman  going  to  his  father's  at  present 
.  .  .  his  presence  will,  as  I  understand,  be  most 
painful  to  Mrs.  S."  Shelley  went  off  to  Sussex  on 
learning  of  his  grandfather's  death.  He  was  accom- 
panied by  Clare  Clairmont ;  perhaps  Mary  would 
have  taken  her  place  had  she  been  well  enough.  On 
presenting  himself  at  Field  Place  Bysshe  was  refused 
admittance  by  his  father — now  Sir  Timothy  Shelley. 
Whereupon  the  poet  seated  himself  on  the  doorstep 

449  2  F 

Shelley  in   England 

and  read  Comus  out  of  Mary's  copy  of  Milton.  Pre- 
sently Dr.  Blocksome  came  out  of  the  house  and  told 
Bysshe  that  his  father  was  very  angry  with  him. 
He  looked  at  the  book  in  Bysshe's  hands,  and  ob- 
served Mary's  name  in  it.  Bysshe  learnt,  perhaps 
from  the  doctor,  that  the  will  had  been  opened,  and 
that  he  was  referred  to  Whitton. 

Sir  Bysshe  was  buried  on  Tuesday,  January  18,  in 
the  family  vault  at  Horsham,  and,  as  the  notice 
contributed  by  Whitton1  to  a  Sussex  newspaper 
says :  "  The  corpse  was  followed  by  the  present  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley,  Bart.,  who  hath  succeeded  to  the 
family  estates  of  the  Shelley s  and  Mitchells  [sic],  and 
by  John  Shelley  Sidney  of  Penshurst  Place,  Kent, 
Esqre.,  the  deceased  ['s]  eldest  son  by  his  Second 
Marriage,  and  by  Major  Shelley,  the  third  Son,  and  a 
numerous  and  respectable  Tenant ry."  His  grandson 
Bysshe  does  not  appear  to  have  attended  the  funeral, 
as  he  returned  to  London  on  January  13  ; 2  there 
is,  however,  no  entry  printed  from  Mary's  diary  be- 
tween that  date  and  January  24.  Bysshe  had  some 
years  previously  told  Miss  Kitchener  that  he  had  no 

1  Who  sent  it  to  the  editor  with  a  two-pound  note. 

2  Whitton  wrote  in  his  business  diary  on  Jan.  13,  1815,  the  date  of 
Shelley's  return  to  London  :  "Attended  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley  on  the  death 
of  his  Grandfather  and  the  result   of  his  visit   to   Field  Place,  and   I 
communicated  generally  the  import  of  the  Will  and  Codicils  and  promised 
that  as  soon  as  possible  after  the  interment  of  Sir  Bysshe  he  should 
receive  all  the  information  in  my  power  to  give  him." 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

intention  of  attending  his  grandfather's  funeral  when 
he  should  die.1 

Sir  Bysshe's  residuary  personal  estate  was  sworn 
under  £175,000.  His  daughter,  Mrs.  Aickin,  who  by 
her  marriage  with  Captain  Aickin  is  said  to  have  dis- 
pleased Sir  Bysshe,  only  received  an  annuity  of  £52, 
los.  and  a  legacy  of  £100.  Mr.  John  Shelley-Sidney, 
however,  sympathising  with  his  half-sister  in  her 
disappointment,  arranged  to  pay  her  a  yearly  sum 
of  £100. 

Sir  Bysshe  by  his  Will  dated  28  Nov.  1805  (after 
reciting  the  Settlement  of  20  August  1791)  devised 
his  real  Estates  to  Trustees  (Du  Cane  and  Wm.  Whit- 
ton)  Upon  trust  to  settle  the  same  to  the  use  of  Timothy 
for  life  without  power  to  commit  waste  with  remainder 
To  the  use  of  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  for  life  with  re- 
mainder To  the  use  of  the  first  and  every  other  son 
of  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  in  tail  male  And  in  default 
of  such  male  issue  To  the  use  of  the  second  son  of 
Timothy  (who  was  John)  for  life  with  remainder  To 
the  use  of  the  first  and  every  son  of  John  in  tail  male. 
And  he  also  bequeathed  one  half  of  his  Residuary 
personal  Estate  to  his  trustees  upon  trust  to  convert  the 
same  into  money  and  to  invest  the  proceeds  in  the  pur- 
chase of  Freehold  or  copyhold  land  in  England  and  to 
settle  the  same  To  the  uses  declared  by  his  Will  of  his 

1  See  p.  15. 

Shelley  in  England 

real  Estates  thereby  devised — He  directed  that  in  the 
Settlement  to  be  made  as  aforesaid  there  should  be 
contained  clauses  for  barring  the  Entail  on  the  Estates 
comprised  in  the  Settlement  of  20  August  1791,  and 
for  resettling  the  same  Estates  To  the  uses  declared 
by  his  own  Will  and  that  in  case  any  person  being 
Tenant  for  life  or  in  tail  in  such  Estates  should  refuse 
or  neglect  for  one  year  to  concur  in  barring  the  Entail, 
then  the  uses  directed  to  be  limited  in  the  Estates 
devised  by  his  Will  to  such  person,  should  cease  and 
become  void  and  that  such  Estates  should  go  to  the 
next  person  in  succession  under  the  Will — He  also 
directed  that  in  the  Settlement  to  be  made  there  should 
be  contained  provisoes  for  the  person  in  possession 
to  take  the  name  and  bear  the  Arms  of  Shelley  and  in 
default  to  forfeit  his  interest  And  he  declared  that  his 
Trustees  were  not  to  lay  out  the  residue  of  his  Estate 
in  the  purchase  of  lands  unless  Consols  were  at  70— 
He  directed  his  remains  to  be  decently  buried  either 
at  Penshurst  or  Horsham,  that  was  to  say,  at  such  of 
those  places  as  he  should  be  nearest  unto  at  the  time 
of  his  death. 

By  a  fifth  Codicil  to  his  Will  dated  29  October 
iSn,1  Sir  Bysshe,  after  reciting  the  Settlement  of 
30  April  1782,  in  effect  directed  that  all  persons  who 

1  1811,  the  year  of  Shelley's  expulsion  from  Oxford,  his  marriage  to 
Harriet,  and  his  quarrel  with  his  father. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

should  become  entitled  to  an  Estate  for  life  or  in  tail 
in  the  Estates  comprised  in  the  Settlement  of  1782 
should  resettle  such  Estates  or  in  default  should  for- 
feit all  benefit  under  his  Will. 

Similar  conditions  had  been  imposed  by  previous 
wills  of  the  Shelleys,  so  that  Sir  Bysshe  was  following 
a  precedent  in  his  family. 

The  Settlement  of  1782  comprised  the  Michell 
Estates  in  Sussex  which  formerly  belonged  to  Mary 
Catherine  Michell  (the  first  wife  of  Sir  Bysshe),  whilst  the 
Settlement  of  1791  comprised  the  Estates  devised  by  the 
Will  of  Edward  Shelley  of  Field  Place,  who  died  1747-8, 
and  resettled  by  Sir  Bysshe  and  Timothy  in  1791. 

But  at  the  dates  of  the  Will  and  Codicils  of  Sir  Bysshe 
there  were  other  Estates  in  Sussex  of  the  annual  value 
of  £800  to  which  under  the  Will  of  John  Shelley  of 
Field  Place,  who  died  in  1790,  his  brother  Sir  Bysshe 
was  entitled  for  life,  with  remainder  to  the  latter's 
son  Timothy  for  life,  with  remainder  to  Percy  Bysshe 
in  tail  male.  Apparently  by  some  oversight  Sir  Bysshe 
did  not  by  his  Will  or  any  Codicil  make  any  provision 
for  the  resettling  of  this  property. 

On  January  20  Shelley  received  a  copy  of  Sir  Bysshe's 
will  and  codicils  from  Whitton,  who  stated  that  Sir 
Timothy  was  "  ready  to  concur  in  all  necessary  acts 
for  re-settling  the  estates  comprised  in  the  Settlements 
of  1782  and  1791  according  to  the  directions  "  in  his 


Shelley  in  England 

grandfather's  will  and  codicils.  Sir  Timothy  was 
anxious  that  Bysshe  should  be  given  time  to  consider 
whether  he  would  take  an  interest  under  his  grand- 
father's will  by  performing  the  necessary  acts. 

Bysshe,  however,  refused  to  comply  with  the  con- 
ditions of  his  grandfather's  will,  and  by  a  Deed-Poll 
formally  renounced  all  interest  under  such  will,  and 
he  agreed  to  sell  to  his  father  his  reversionary  interest 
under  the  will  of  John  Shelley  in  consideration  of  his 
father  paying  him  the  sum  of  £7400  and  covenanting  to 
pay  him  an  annuity  of  £1000  during  their  joint  lives.1 

When  this  arrangement  was  complete,  Shelley  at 
once  sent  Harriet  a  sum  of  £200  wherewith  to  liquidate 
her  debts,  and  gave  instructions  for  his  father's  banker 
to  pay  her  in  quarterly  instalments  a  sum  of  £200  a 
year.  This  amount,  with  a  like  sum  which  Mr.  West- 
brook  allowed  his  daughter,  provided  Harriet  with 
an  income  of  £400  per  annum. 

Shelley  was  now  in  a  position  of  comfort,  and  after 
the  experience  of  many  months  in  London  lodgings 
he  was  able  to  leave  town  for  Devonshire.  In  June 
he  was  at  Torquay,  and  a  month  later,  while  he  was 
looking  for  a  suitable  house,  Mary  was  staying  at 
Clifton.  Mary  had  given  birth  in  February  to  a  seven- 
months'  girl,  who  survived  only  a  few  days.  The 

1  These  transactions  were  carried  out  by  three  deeds,  short  abstracts 
of  which  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 


The  Death   of  Harriet 

loss  of  her  baby  and  her  impaired  health  had  given 
Shelley  some  anxious  weeks.  This  quiet  sojourn, 
however,  restored  her,  and  by  August  she  was  settled 
with  Shelley  in  a  furnished  house  at  Bishopgate,  near 
the  eastern  entrance  of  Windsor  Park,  where  they 
remained  till  the  spring  of  1816,  and  where,  on  January 
24  of  that  year,  their  son  William  was  born. 

Peacock,  who  was  living  at  Great  Marlow,  frequently 
walked  over  to  Bishopgate  to  see  Shelley,  and  at  the 
end  of  August  he,  Shelley,  Mary,  and  Charles  Clair- 
mont  made  a  ten  days'  excursion  on  the  Thames  from 
Windsor  to  Lechlade  in  Gloucestershire.  They  went 
a  little  higher,  but  did  not  get  much  beyond  Ingles- 
ham  on  account  of  the  water-weeds.  Shelley  wanted 
to  go  on,  and  to  traverse  various  rivers  and  canals 
until  they  reached  the  Falls  of  the  Clyde,  a  distance 
of  two  thousand  miles  ;  but  the  idea  was  given  up 
when  it  was  ascertained  that  a  sum  of  £20  would  be 
required  for  the  privilege  of  passing  the  Severn  Canal. 
Clairmont,  who  wrote  an  account  of  the  excursion  in 
a  letter  to  his  sister  Clare,  tells  us  that  they  stayed  at 
Oxford  from  seven  in  the  evening  till  four  o'clock  the 
next  afternoon.  After  seeing  the  Bodleian  Library 
and  the  Clarendon  Press,  they  visited,  he  said,  "  the 
very  rooms  where  the  two  noted  infidels,  Shelley  and 
Hogg  (now,  happily,  excluded  the  society  of  the 
present  residents),  pored,  with  the  incessant  and  un- 


Shelley   in   England 

wearied  application  of  the  alchymist,  over  the  certified 
and  natural  boundaries  of  human  knowledge."  Clair- 
mont  added  :  "  We  have  all  felt  the  good  effects  of 
this  jaunt,  but  in  Shelley  the  change  is  quite  remark- 
able ;  he  has  now  the  ruddy,  healthy  complexion  of 
the  autumn  upon  his  countenance,  and  he  is  twice 
as  fat  as  he  used  to  be." 

The  journal  kept  by  Shelley  and  Mary  has  been  lost 
from  May  14,  1815,  for  a  year  onwards.  It  would  no 
doubt  have  told  us,  what  we  now  learn  from  the 
following  letter,  that  Harriet  had  applied  to  Shelley 
for  an  allowance  for  the  keep  of  the  two  children  in 
addition  to  the  sum  which  he  had  arranged  to  pay  for 
her  support.  He  refused  to  comply  with  this  request, 
which  probably  aroused  his  misgivings  that,  as  Harriet 
had  found  her  income  insufficient,  the  children  may 
have  gone  on  short  commons.  He  therefore  told  her 
that  he  was  willing — nay,  desirous — of  having  lanthe 
with  him,  and  that  he  would  support  and  care  for 
her.  Harriet  would  not  consent  to  part  with  her 
little  girl,  excusing  herself  on  the  ground  of  Shelley's 
religious  principles,  nor  would  she  agree  to  be  a  party 
in  a  deed  of  separation.  Shelley  then  declared  that, 
unless  she  delivered  up  the  child,  he  should  withdraw 
his  promised  allowance  for  her  maintenance.  At  this 
stage  the  Westbrooks  meditated  taking  proceedings 
against  Shelley  in  the  courts  for  alimony  on  Harriet's 


The   Death  of  Harriet 

account,  and  for  a  separate  allowance  for  the  chil- 
dren's support.  Shelley's  suggestion  that  his  father 
should  help  to  support  the  children  apparently  met 
with  a  refusal. 

W.  Whitton  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 


30  Novr.  1815. 

DEAR  SIR  TIMOTHY, — I  yesterday  had  a  visit  from 
Mr.  Desse  and  Mr.  Westbrook,  who  stated  much  of 
their  treaty  for  a  Settlement  by  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley  for 
the  maintenance  of  his  children  in  addition  to  that 
made  for  his  wife  without  effect,  and  that  Mr.  Shelley 
requested  that  his  daughter  should  be  delivered  to 
him  which  the  mother  had  refused  to  do,  that  they 
meditated  proceedings  in  the  Ecclesiastical  Court  for 
Alimony  for  the  wife  and  in  the  Court  of  Chancery 
for  maintenance  for  the  children,  in  which  proceedings 
the  religious  principles  of  Mr.  Shelley  would  be  stated 
as  the  ground  or  reason  for  refusing  to  give  him  the 
care  of  the  children,  and  under  such  circumstances 
the  visit  to  me  was  to  enquire  whether  to  prevent  a 
publick  statement  of  the  situation  of  Mr.  Shelley  you 
would  take  on  yourself  the  support,  that  is,  to  allow 
for  the  support  of  one  of  the  children  if  Mr.  Westbrook 
provided  for  the  other,  and  if  Mrs.  Shelley  should  be 
content  with  the  £200  a  year.  I  told  them  that  I 
would  mention  the  subject  to  you,  but  I  felt  confident 
you  would  not  interfere  with  Mr.  Shelley  farther  than 
you  had  done  in  respect  to  any  allowance.  Indeed,  I 
know  that  the  plan  proposed  by  them  would  not  be 
satisfactory,  because  I  have  been  informed  by  Mr. 


Shelley  in   England 

Longdill  that  as  Mrs.  Shelley's  friends  advise  her  not 
to  enter  into  any  deed  of  separation  and  not  to  give 
him  the  care  of  his  daughter,  it  is  his  intention  to  with- 
draw the  allowance  of  £200  a  year  which  we  had 
agreed  to  make  for  Mrs.  Shelley,  so  that  confusion  will 
soon  follow  in  their  affairs  and  I  fear  that  if  you  allow 
yourself  to  be  mingled  in  the  strife  and  to  take  the 
conduct  that  is  suggested  you  will  undergo  continual 
anxiety  and  pain.  It  is  not  the  money  but  the  Com- 
pany in  which  you  may  be  placed,  and  more,  much 
more,  may  be  expected  from  you  should  you  do  as 
is  requested  than  would  be  pleasant  to  your  feelings, 
and  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley  would  consider  you  looking  to 
his  persecutors  rather  than  to  him,  a  situation  that 
it  is  most  desirable  for  you  to  avoid  lest  a  great  change 
should  take  place  in  his  conduct  and  principles  and 
he  should  be  in  a  situation  to  receive  your  protection. 
You  know  what  reply  I  am  to  give. 

It  was  mentioned  to  me  yesterday  that  Mr.  P.  B. 
Shelley  was  exhibiting  himself  on  the  Windsor  Stage 
in  the  Character  of  Shakespeare's  plays  under  the 
figured  name  of  Cooks.  I  believe  that  fact  is  so,  and 
I  know  of  no  way  correcting  such  a  purpose  and  bring- 
ing himself  and  his  conduct  in  life  and  principles 
before  the  publick  than  measures  of  communication 
with  the  principal  of  the  Company,  whose  name,  I 
believe,  is  Penley,  and  whom  I  know  a  little  of  from 
his  visiting  Camberwell  parish  annually  with  his  com- 
pany. Can  I  do  anything  for  you  about  this  ? — I 
am,  &c.,  WILLIAM  WHITTON. 

SIR  T.  SHELLEY,  Ex., 
Field  Place, 

Horsham,  Sussex. 


The  Death   of  Harriet 

If  Whitton  is  correct  in  his  statement  that  Shelley 
had  acted  in  Shakespeare's  plays  at  the  Windsor 
Theatre,  it  is  strange  that  both  Peacock  and  Hogg, 
who  were  much  in  his  company  at  this  time,  have 
forborne  to  mention  it.  Had  they  heard  of  such  an 
interesting  episode  in  their  friend's  life,  it  is  unlikely 
that  they  would  have  forgotten  to  describe  him  as 
an  actor.  Whitton,  on  the  other  hand,  was  not  the 
sort  of  man  to  retail  idle  gossip,  and  it  is  possible  that 
Shelley  may  have  kept  the  matter  to  himself.  Whit- 
ton, who  at  that  date  and  for  some  years  previously 
had  resided  at  Camberwell  on  a  small  estate  which 
he  had  purchased  in  1812  from  the  well-known  Dr. 
Lettsom,  speaks  with  some  knowledge  of  Penley,  and 
he  was  no  doubt  sure  of  his  facts.1 

In  his  diary,  under  the  date  of  December  i,  Whitton 
stated  that  he  had  had  some  conversation  with  Shelley's 
solicitor,  Mr.  Longdill,  in  regard  to  his  client's  appear- 
ance on  the  stage,  as  well  as  on  the  communication 
made  to  him  by  Mr.  Westbrook  and  his  solicitor,  Mr. 
Desse.  Whitton  used  his  best  endeavours  to  avert 
the  meditated  proceedings  in  the  courts,  and  he  sug- 
gested that  the  children  should  be  placed  in  the  care 

1  Blanche  in  his  book  Ye  Parish  of  Camberwell,  1877,  says:  "The 
Peckham  Theatre  was  at  one  time  an  institution  in  the  Village,  for  the 
spirited  Proprietor,  Mr.  Penley  of  Drury  Lane  notoriety,  generally 
presented  an  attractive  bill  of  fare,  and  residents  of  to-day  speak  in  terms 
of  high  praise  of  the  performers." 


Shelley  in   England 

of  some  person  approved  of  by  Desse  and  Longdill, 
and  that  Shelley  should  make  a  proper  allowance  for 
their  support.  "  This  subject,"  he  said,  "  caused  a 
general  consideration  of  Mr.  Shelley's  situation,  in 
particular  his  connection  with  the  Theatre  at  Windsor, 
and  Mr.  Longdill  urged  that  he  might  have  communi- 
cation with  Sir  Timothy."  Mr.  Whitton  continued 
his  efforts  to  assist  at  an  amicable  settlement  between 
Shelley  and  Harriet,  and  on  February  15,  1816,  he 
informed  Sir  Timothy  that  he  had  been  negotiating 
to  prevent  hostilities  between  Mr.  Desse  and  Mr. 

In  1815-16  the  Trustees  of  the  Will  of  Sir  Bysshe 
(Peter  Du  Cane  and  William  Whitton)  filed  a  Bill  in 
Chancery  to  have  the  Will  and  Codicils  established 
and  the  trusts  thereof  carried  into  execution,  and  for 
an  injunction  to  restrain  Sir  Timothy  from  cutting 
timber  on  the  Estates  comprised  in  the  Settlements 
of  1782  and  1791,  which  timber  was  stated  to  be  of 
the  value  of  some  thousands  of  pounds.  (Shelley  in 
his  letter  to  Godwin,  dated  May  3,  1816,  said  the 
timber  was  worth  £60,000.)  The  defendants  were  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  Charles  Bysshe 
Shelley  (the  infant  son  of  Percy  Bysshe),  and  others. 

It  would  appear  that  in  those  days  it  was  necessary 
for  an  infant  to  attend  personally  in  court  for  the  pur- 
pose of  having  a  guardian  assigned  to  him  to  defend 


The   Death   of  Harriet 

the  suit  and  file  an  answer.  There  seems  to  have  been 
considerable  difficulty  in  getting  Bysshe's  infant  child 
(then  only  sixteen  months  old)  brought  to  the  court, 
for  on  March  2,  1816,  Whitton  wrote  to  Desse  :  "I 
have  not  stated  to  you  I  have  obtained  the  attachment 
and  the  Order  for  the  Messenger  to  take  the  infant 
into  Court,  and  you  will  feel  that  it  is  my  duty  to  en- 
force this  Order  unless  Mrs.  Shelley  will  make  it  un- 
necessary by  bringing  the  child  into  Court  without 
further  trouble."  Possibly  Harriet  was  apprehensive 
that  Shelley  might  kidnap  the  child. 

The  Order  for  attachment  was  as  follows  : 

March  2,  1816. — Upon  Motion  this  day  made  unto 
this  Court  by  Mr.  Blackburn  of  Counsel  for  the  Plain- 
tiffs It  was  alleged  that  an  Attachment  hath  issued 
against  the  defendant  Charles  Bysshe  Shelley  who  is 
an  infant  for  want  of  his  Answer  to  the  Plaintiffs' 
Bill.  It  is  ordered  that  the  Messenger  attending  this 
Court  do  apprehend  the  said  defendant  the  infant  and 
bring  him  to  the  Bar  of  this  Court  to  have  a  guardian 
assigned  him  by  whom  he  may  answer  the  Plaintiffs' 
Bill  and  defend  this  suit. 

From  a  letter  written  by  Whitton  on  March  I2th  to 
Teasdale  (Nash's  solicitor)  it  appears  that  the  suit  in 
question  was  not  a  hostile  one.  The  real  object  of  it 
appears  to  have  been  to  get  a  decision  as  to  whether 
Timothy  could  cut  timber  on  the  estates  comprised 
in  the  settlements  of  1782  and  1791,  and  whether 


Shelley  in   England 

Timothy  could  concur  with  his  son  in  making  any 
disposition  of  such  estates  without  incurring  a  for- 
feiture of  the  life  estate  given  to  him  (Timothy)  by 
Sir  Bysshe's  will. 

The  case  was  argued  before  Lord  Eldon,  the  Lord 
Chancellor,  and  Whitton  wrote,  on  April  23,  1816, 
to  inform  Sir  Timothy  that  the  Lord  Chancellor  had 
given  his  judgment,  which  was  nearly  in  the  terms 
which  was  anticipated  would  be  the  result — that  the 
Chancellor  was  most  clearly  of  opinion  that  neither 
Bysshe  nor  his  issue  could  take  any  interest  under  the 
will  of  Sir  Bysshe,  and  that  they  were  not  entitled 
to  prevent  Sir  Timothy  from  cutting  the  timber,  or  in 
any  manner  interested  in  the  timber  when  cut.  But 
as  Sir  Timothy's  other  son,  John,  might  ultimately 
become  tenant  in  tail  in  remainder  on  Sir  Timothy's 
life,  the  money  derived  from  the  wood  was  to  be 
invested.  Sir  Timothy,  however,  was  to  receive  the 
interest.  The  Chancellor  also  held  that  Sir  Timothy 
must  retain  his  life  estate,  and  do  no  act  to  prevent  a 
re-settlement  according  to  the  will.  ' '  Thus  all  arrange- 
ment with  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley,"  said  Whitton,  "is  made 
impracticable,  and  he  is  as  I  understand  greatly  dis- 
appointed at  that  part  of  the  decision,  for  he  has  some 
very  pressing  occasions  for  money.  He  was  in  Court." 

Shelley's  mental  development  advanced  under  the 
genial  sympathy  of  Mary's  influence ;  she  said  that 


The   Death   of  Harriet 

"  he  enjoyed  several  months  of  comparative  health 
and  tranquil  happiness."  His  comparative  freedom 
from  money  worries  had  enabled  him  to  give  his  atten- 
tion once  more  to  poetry,  and,  inspired  by  the  scenery 
of  Windsor  Forest,  he  had  written,  probably  by  the 
end  of  1815,  his  poem  Alastor  and  the  other  pieces 
contained  in  the  volume  published  under  that  title. 
Of  this  volume  he  printed  at  his  own  expense  250 
copies,  and  he  sent  a  copy  to  John  Murray  on  January 
16,  1816,  asking  him  if  he  would  publish .  it.  On 
Murray's  declining  the  book,  Shelley  made  arrange- 
ments for  it  to  be  issued  jointly  by  Baldwin  &  Co. 
and  Carpenter  &  Son,  and  announced  to  the  last- 
named  firm,  in  his  letter  of  February  6th,  that  he  ex- 
pected the  volume  would  be  ready  for  publication  in 
the  course  of  a  few  days. 

A  copy  of  Alastor  probably  found  its  way  to  Field 
Place,  for  on  February  27th  Sir  Timothy  wrote  to 
Whitton  :  "  P.  B.  has  published  a  Poem  with  some 
fragments,  somewhat  in  his  usual  style,  not  altogether 
free  from  former  sentiments,  and  wants  to  find  out 
one  person  on  earth  the  Prototype  of  himself."  Sir 
Timothy  was  far  from  being  the  only  unappreci- 
ative  reader  of  this  little  book.  Its  merits  failed 
to  attract  the  attention  either  of  the  reviewers  or 
the  public,  although  these  merits  were  sufficient  to 
establish  the  author's  reputation  as  a  poet  not 


Shelley   in   England 

unworthy  to  take  his  place  with  Wordsworth  and 

An  exception  to  the  general  neglect  of  Alastor  is  to 
be  found  in  an  article  from  the  pen  of  Leigh  Hunt 
that  appeared  in  the  Examiner  for  December  i,  1816. 
Although  it  contained  the  briefest  reference  to  the 
poem,  and  no  criticism,  it  constituted,  perhaps,  in  a 
few  cordial  lines,  the  first  public  recognition  of  Shelley's 
poetical  gifts.  Under  the  title  of  "  Young  Poets  "  Hunt 
spoke  of  the  work  of  Shelley,  John  Hamilton  Reynolds, 
and  John  Keats — "  three  young  writers,  who  appear 
to  us  to  promise  a  considerable  addition  of  strength 
to  the  new  school.  Of  the  first  who  came  before  us, 
we  have,  it  is  true,  yet  seen  only  one  or  two  specimens, 
and  these  were  no  sooner  sent  us  than  we  unfortunately 
mislaid  them  ;  but  we  shall  procure  what  he  has 
published,  and  if  the  rest  answer  to  what  we  have  seen, 
we  shall  have  no  hesitation  in  announcing  him  a  very 
striking  and  original  thinker.  His  name  is  Percy 
Bysshe  Shelley,  and  he  is  the  author  of  a  poetical 
work  entitled  Alastor,  or  the  Spirit  of  Solitude.'1  More 
space  was  devoted  to  the  two  other  poets,  and  speci- 
mens of  their  work  were  quoted. 

In  sending  a  copy  of  this  little  book  to  Southey, 
Shelley  recalled  the  pleasure  that  he  had  derived  from 
the  conversation  and  the  kindness  he  had  received 
from  the  Lake  poet.  He  pleaded  as  his  excuse  for 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

having  neglected  to  write,  as  he  had  promised,  from 
Ireland,  "  the  disappointment  of  some  youthful 
hopes,  and  subsequent  misfortunes  of  a  heavier 

As  soon  as  the  Court  of  Chancery  had  decided  the 
questions  arising  under  Sir  Bysshe's  will,  Shelley  made 
preparations  for  a  second  visit  to  the  Continent.  He 
had  spent  some  days  in  London  lodgings  at  March- 
mont  Street,  and  just  before  embarking  for  France  he 
wrote,  on  May  3rd,  from  Dover,  to  William  Godwin 
to  inform  him  of  the  state  of  his  concerns.  After 
detailing  certain  matters  concerning  money,  he  spoke 
of  his  motives  in  leaving  England,  and  adding  a 
generous  expression  of  regard  for  Godwin,  said  : 

"  Continually  detained  in  a  situation  where  what  I 
esteem  a  prejudice  does  not  permit  me  to  live  on  equal 
terms  with  my  fellow-beings,  I  resolved  to  commit 
myself  to  a  decided  step.  Therefore  I  take  Mary  to 
Geneva,  where  I  shall  devise  some  plan  of  settlement, 
and  only  leave  her  to  return  to  London,  and  exclusively 
devote  myself  to  business.  I  leave  England,  I  know, 
not,  perhaps,  for  ever.  I  return,  alone,  to  see  no 
friend,  to  do  no  office  of  friendship,  to  engage  in  no- 
thing that  can  soothe  the  sentiments  of  regret  almost 
like  remorse  which,  under  such  circumstances,  every- 
one feels  who  quits  his  native  land.  I  respect  you, 
I  think  well  of  you,  better  perhaps  than  of  any  other 
person  whom  England  contains  ;  you  were  the  philo- 
sopher who  first  awakened,  and  who  still  as  a  philo- 

465  2  G 

Shelley  in   England 

sopher  to  a  very  great  degree  regulates  my  under- 
standing. It  is  unfortunate  for  me  that  the  part  of 
your  character  which  is  least  excellent  should  have 
been  met  by  my  convictions  of  what  was  right  to  do. 
But  I  have  been  too  indignant,  I  have  been  unjust  to 
you — forgive  me ;  burn  those  letters  which  contain 
the  records  of  my  violence,  and  believe  me  that, 
however  what  you  erroneously  call  fame  and  honour 
separate  us,  I  shall  always  feel  towards  you  as  the 
most  affectionate  of  friends." 

Godwin  had  maintained  his  unfriendly  attitude 
towards  Shelley  since  Mary's  elopement,  but  he  was 
not  only  willing,  but  desirous,  that  Shelley  should 
raise  money  for  him  at  exorbitant  rates  on  his  ex- 
pectations. Shelley's  frequent  letters  to  him  at  this 
time,  which  were  entirely  restricted  to  the  business 
of  rinding  money  for  him,  were  written  in  a  stiff, 
formal  style  such  as  one  might  adopt  in  writing  to 
a  stranger,  but  there  is  nothing  in  them  to  which 
exception  could  be  taken.  Godwin  refused  to  accept 
Shelley's  plea  for  a  reconciliation,  and  their  corre- 
spondence continued  in  the  same  cold  strain. 

Shelley  and  Mary  took  with  them  their  little  boy, 
William,  and  Clare  Clairmont.  They  reached  Paris 
by  May  8th,  and  then  went  over  the  same  route  that 
they  had  traversed  on  foot  in  1814,  through  Troyes 
and  as  far  as  NeufcMtel.  Here  another  road  was 
taken,  through  Dijon,  Dole,  Poligny,  Champagnolles, 


The   Death  of  Harriet 

Les  Rousses  to  Geneva,  where  they  put  up  at  the 
Hotel  de  Secheron.  At  the  end  of  May  they  moved 
from  the  hotel  to  a  cottage — the  Champagne  Chapuis, 
or  Champagne  Monte  Alegre — some  two  miles  from 
Geneva,  on  the  border  of  the  Lake,  and  separated  from 
the  water's  edge  by  a  small  garden.  Byron  had  arrived 
at  Geneva  on  May  25th,  about  ten  days  after  Shelley, 
having  left  England  for  the  last  time  on  April  25th. 
He  found  the  attentions  of  the  British  tourists  so  dis- 
tasteful that  he  soon  moved  to  the  Villa  Diodati,  near 
where  Shelley  was  living.  The  two  poets  met  for  the 
first  time  on  May  27th.  Shelley  had  sent  a  copy  of 
Queen  Mob,  with  a  letter,  to  Byron,  who  received  the 
book  without  the  letter,  and  expressed  warm  admiration 
for  the  opening  lines  of  the  poem. 

Shelley  had  departed  from  England  without  in- 
forming Whitton.  He  wrote,  however,  towards  the  end 
of  May,  to  Longdill  requesting  him  to  suggest  through 
Whitton  that  his  father  should  increase  his  income  by 
£500  a  year.  Mr.  Whitton  wrote  on  May  30th  to  in- 
form Sir  Timothy  of  this  suggestion,  and  said :  "  It  is 
scarcely  to  be  believed  that  a  young  man  could  be  so 
inconsiderate."  Whitton,  who  thought  Shelley's  "  de- 
parture without  the  least  intimation  very  wrong," 
told  Sir  Timothy  he  had  informed  Longdill  that  he 
"  thought  the  proposal  would  justify  and  in  all  "prob- 
ability would  induce  you  to  say  that  you  would  not 


Shelley  in   England 

mingle  yourself  with  him  in  any  manner,  as  it  is  most 
evident  no  liberality  on  your  part  can  or  will  influence 
him  to  a  conduct  consistent  with  his  rank  in  life." 
The  two  lawyers  agreed  that  a  loan  of  £2000,  which 
Sir  Timothy  had  promised  Bysshe,  should  stand 
over  till  he  returned  to  England.  Shelley  probably 
wanted  his  allowance  increased  for  the  support  of  his 
two  children  by  Harriet,  but  he  was  given  to  under- 
stand that  he  need  not  expect  Sir  Timothy  would 
augment  his  allowance,  so  Shelley  now  wrote,  through 
Longdill,  with  regard  to  the  promised  loan,  requesting 
that  any  deeds  necessary  to  be  executed  might  be  sent 
to  him  by  a  special  messenger  on  account  of  the  length 
of  the  journey.  He  also  said  that  his  health  was 
receiving  great  benefit  from  the  climate.  Whitton,  in 
conveying  this  information  to  Sir  Timothy,  remarked : 
"  I  cannot  learn  that  Mr.  Shelley  hath  or  that  he  pro- 
poses to  make  any  arrangement  or  allowance  for  the 
support  or  care  of  his  children,  and  I  do  not  think  it 
desirable  for  you  to  involve  yourself  with  securities 
for  or  from  him,  and  the  rather  as  the  expenses  will 
be  considerable,  and  he  may  by  and  by  think  proper 
to  make  observations  that  would  give  pain  to  those 
who  wished  to  serve  him." 

Whitton  wrote  to  Longdill  stating  that  Sir  Timothy 
refused  to  send  the  deeds  to  Switzerland  for  execu- 
tion, and  that  he  declined  to  receive  from  Shelley  any 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

security  or  to  enter  into  any  pecuniary  account  during 
his  absence.  He  added  that  Sir  Timothy  had  expected 
his  son  "would  have  made  out  of  his  present  means  a 
suitable  provision  for  the  support  of  his  children  and 
not  have  quitted  the  country  as  he  hath  been  informed 
without  making  any  such  provision."  1 

On  August  i6th  Whitton  again  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy, 
enclosing  a  copy  of  a  letter  which  he  had  received  from 
Shelley.  The  letter  is  not  forthcoming,  but  in  sending 
the  copy,  Whitton  wrote  regarding  it :  "The  laboured 
civility  and  pretence  of  return  on  account  of  the  £400 
is  too  apparent  when  you  recollect  the  contents  of  my 
letter  to  you."  This  amount  was  the  half-yearly  in- 
stalment of  Shelley's  allowance,  which  no  doubt  he 
thought  might  be  suspended  if  he  delayed  his  return. 
On  August  29th,  Shelley,  Mary,  Clare,  and  William 
departed  from  Geneva,  and  arrived  at  Versailles  on 
September  2nd.  After  visiting  the  Palace  and  gardens 
they  made  their  way  without  touching  Paris  to  Havre, 
and  from  thence  they  crossed  to  Portsmouth,  reaching 
that  place  on  September  7th.  Here  they  parted,  Shelley 
going  to  London,  and  afterwards  to  Marlow  on  a  visit 
to  Peacock,  while  Mary,  Clare,  William,  and  the  Swiss 
nurse  Elise  went  to  Bath.  On  September  i6th,  Whitton 

1  Mary  wrote  in  her  diary  on  August  2nd,  two  days  before  Shelley's 
twenty-fourth  birthday,  that  he  received  on  that  date  a  letter  from 
Longdill  requiring  his  return  to  England:  "This  put  us  in  very  bad 


Shelley  in   England 

announced  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley's  return,  saying  that 
he  had  been  in  town  for  a  few  days. 

On  September  24,  1816,  in  consideration  of  the 
Transfer  by  Richard  Whitton  into  the  name  of  the 
poet  of  £3500  3  per  cent.  Consolidated  Bank  Annuities, 
Shelley  mortgaged  to  Richard  Whitton  his  rever- 
sionary interests  in  the  estates  comprised  in  the 
Settlements  of  1782  and  1791.  Richard  Whitton  was 
a  son  of  William  Whitton,  and  his  name  was  inserted 
in  such  mortgage  as  Trustee  for  Sir  Timothy,  to  whom 
the  sum  of  stock  in  fact  belonged.  The  Transfer  of 
this  stock  appears  to  have  been  substituted  for  the 
suggested  loan  of  £2000.  Shelley  at  this  date  (Sep. 
24)  was  much  pressed  for  money,  and  it  would  seem 
that  Whitton  advanced  him  £1700  pending  the  sale 
of  the  stock.  In  granting  the  loan,  Sir  Timothy  made 
an  indispensable  condition  that  Shelley  should  pay  all 
his  debts.  This  arrangement  therefore  rendered  it 
impossible  for  him  to  supply  Godwin  with  a  sum  of 
£300  which  he  had  promised  him,  but  he  sent,  as  he 
said,  "  within  a  few  pounds,  the  wrecks  of  my  late 
negotiation  with  my  father." *• 

On  the  same  day  (Sep.  24)  Shelley  made  a  will  whereby 
he  bequeathed  to  his  trustees,  Lord  Byron  and  Thomas 
Love  Peacock,  a  sum  of  £6000  upon  trust  that  they 
should,  during  the  life  of  his  wife,  Harriet  Shelley,  pay 

1  Shelley  to  Godwin,  Bath,  October  2,  1816. 

The  Death  of  Harriet 

the  same  to  Harriet,  to  the  intent  that  the  same  might 
be  for  her  separate  use,  independently  of  any  husband 
with  whom  she  might  intermarry  after  his  decease. 
He  bequeathed  to  his  executors,  Lord  Byron  and 
Thomas  Love  Peacock,  £5000  in  trust  for  his  son, 
Charles  Bysshe  Shelley,  to  vest  and  to  be  paid  on  his 
attaining  the  age  of  twenty-one.  He  bequeathed  to 
his  trustees  £5000  in  trust  for  his  daughter,  lanthe 
Shelley,  to  vest  and  be  paid  on  her  attaining  twenty- 
one.  He  bequeathed  to  Mary  Jane  Clairmont  (sister- 
in-law  of  his  residuary  legatee)  £6000,  and  he  also 
bequeathed  unto  his  trustees  the  sum  of  £6000  upon 
trust  to  invest  the  same  in  the  purchase  of  an  annuity 
for  the  life  of  the  said  Mary  Jane  Clairmont  and  the 
life  of  such  other  person  as  the  said  Mary  Jane  Clair- 
mont should  name  (if  she  should  be  pleased  to  name 
one),  and  to  pay  the  said  annuity  to  the  said  Mary 
Jane  Clairmont  during  her  life,  and  after  her  death  to 
pay  the  said  annuity,  in  case  the  same  should  not 
have  run  out,  to  such  person  as  the  said  Mary  Jane 
Clairmont  should  by  her  will  appoint.  To  Thomas 
Jefferson  Hogg  of  the  Inner  Temple  he  bequeathed 
£2000,  and  a  similar  sum  to  Lord  Byron.  To  T.  L. 
Peacock  he  gave  £500,  and  to  his  trustees  he  be- 
queathed £2000  upon  trust  to  invest  the  same  in  the 
purchase  of  an  annuity  for  the  life  of  the  said 
T.  L.  Peacock,  and  the  life  of  such  other  person 


Shelley  in   England 

as  he  should  name  (if  he  should  be  pleased  to 
name  one),  upon  trust  for  the  exclusive  benefit 
of  the  said  Thomas  Love  Peacock  in  the  like 
manner  before  directed  as  to  the  before-mentioned 
annuity  and  for  his  appointees  after  his  death.  The 
residue  of  his  real  and  personal  estate  he  devised 
and  bequeathed  unto  Mary  Wollstonecraft  Godwin,  of 
Skinner  Street  in  the  City  of  London,  spinster.  He 
declared  that  the  provision  made  for  his  said  wife 
Harriet  Shelley  should  be  accepted  by  her  in  lieu  and 
satisfaction  of  all  dower  which  she  might  be  entitled 
to  out  of  his  real  estate.  He  also  declared  that  the 
legacies  therein  before  given  should  not  be  paid  until 
the  said  Mary  W.  Godwin  should  be  in  possession  of 
his  real  estate  devised  to  her,  and  not  for  four  years 
thereafter,  if  during  such  period  of  four  years  she 
should  duly  pay  interest  on  the  said  legacies  at  the 
rate  of  4  per  cent,  per  annum.  And  he  appointed 
Lord  Byron  and  Peacock  his  executors. 

After  Harriet's  death,  Shelley,  on  February  18,  1817, 
executed  another  will.  The  sums  bequeathed  in  trust 
to  his  executors  Byron  and  Peacock  for  his  children 
Charles  Bysshe  and  lanthe  were  increased  to  £6000 
each,  and  a  similar  sum  was  bequeathed  in  trust  for 
the  benefit  of  his  son  William.  The  residue  of  his 
estate  was  left  to  his  wife.  The  other  bequests,  in- 
cluding the  bequests  of  the  two  sums  of  £6000  in  favour 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

of  Miss  Clairmont,  are  the  same  as  in  the  first  will. 
It  has  been  suggested,  in  some  quarters,  that  the 
second  sum  of  £6000  to  Miss  Clairmont  was  left  to  her 
"by  an  error  in  drawing  up  the  document,"  but 
there  does  not  seem  to  be  the  slightest  foundation  for 
this  suggestion. 

Having  executed  his  first  will  Shelley  rejoined  Mary  at 
Bath,  but  shortly  after  his  return,  he  and  Mary  received 
a  crushing  blow  by  the  death  of  Fanny  Godwin  under 
distressing  circumstances.  After  Mary's  departure 
with  Shelley  from  the  Godwin  household,  Fanny's  life 
had  become  unendurable  owing  to  Mrs.  Godwin's  un- 
governable temper  and  malicious  tongue.  Godwin, 
who  loved  the  girl  as  if  she  had  been  his  own  daughter, 
was  so  incessantly  occupied  with  his  literary  work  that 
he  was  probably  not  able  to  spare  her  much  of  his 
time ;  she  was  consequently  at  Mrs.  Godwin's  mercy,  as 
Clare  was  seldom  at  home.  Early  in  October  Fanny  had 
suddenly  left  home,  and  had  travelled  through  Bath 
and  Bristol  to  Swansea,  ostensibly  with  the  intention 
of  visiting  an  aunt  in  Ireland.  She  did  not  stop  at 
Bath  to  see  the  Shelleys,  but  she  wrote  to  Mary  from 
Bristol  a  letter  full  of  such  ominous  hints  that  Shelley 
in  alarm  immediately  set  out  for  that  town.  He  re- 
turned, however,  to  Bath  without  obtaining  any  tidings 
of  her,  and  again  went  to  Bristol  on  October  loth,  but 
it  was  not  until  two  days  later  that  he  brought  Mary 


Shelley  in   England 

the  news  of  her  unhappy  sister's  death.  On  Fanny's 
arrival  at  the  Mackworth  Arms  Inn,  Swansea,  on  the 
night  of  October  gth,  she  had  retired  to  rest,  and  she  was 
found  the  next  morning  lying  dead  with  a  laudanum 
bottle  beside  her.  Shelley's  grief  at  Fanny's  death  was 
deep  and  lasting.  He  remained  at  Bath  until  December 
6th,  when  he  came  up  to  town  on  a  visit  to  Leigh  Hunt 
at  Hampstead.  After  spending  a  few  enjoyable  days 
with  his  newly-made  friend,  he  went  to  see  Peacock  at 
Marlow,  where  he  succeeded  in  finding  a  house  in  which 
some  weeks  later  he  settled. 

On  December  I4th,  Shelley  went  back  to  Bath  ;  he 
had  barely  recovered  from  the  shock  of  Fanny's  death, 
and  on  the  day  after  his  return  he  received  the  following 
letter  from  Hookham,  conveying  the  news  that  Harriet 
was  dead : 

T.  Hookham,  junr.,  to  P.  B.  Shelley1 

Dec.  13,  1816. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — It  is  nearly  a  month  since  I  had 
the  pleasure  of  receiving  a  letter  from  you,  and  you 
have  no  doubt  felt  surprised  that  I  did  not  reply  to  it 
sooner.  It  was  my  intention  to  do  so,  but  on  enquiry  I 
found  the  utmost  difficulty  in  obtaining  the  information 
you  desire  relative  to  Mrs.  Shelley  and  your  children. 

1  This  letter  is  from  Dowden's  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  ii.  p.  67. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

While  I  was  yet  endeavouring  to  discover  Mrs. 
Shelley's  address,  information  was  brought  to  me  that 
she  was  dead — that  she  had  destroyed  herself.  You 
will  believe  that  I  did  not  credit  the  report.  I  called 
at  the  house  of  a  friend  of  Mr.  Westbrook  ;  my  doubt 
led  to  conviction.  I  was  informed  she  was  taken  from 
the  Serpentine  river  on  Tuesday  last  .  .  .l  Little  or 
no  information  was  laid  before  the  jury  which  sat.  on 
the  body.  She  was  called  Harriet  Smith,  and  the 
verdict  was  found  drowned.'2' 

Your  children  are  well,  and  are  both,  I  believe,  in 

This  shocking  communication  must  stand  single  and 
alone  in  the  letter  which  I  now  address  you  :  I  have 
no  inclination  to  fill  it  with  subjects  comparatively 
trifling  :  you  will  judge  of  my  feelings  and  excuse  the 
brevity  of  this  communication. — Yours  very  truly, 


There  is  apparently  nothing  to  show  that  Shelley  had 
seen  Harriet  since  his  return  to  England,  but  he  was  in 
touch  with  her  during  his  absence  abroad,  if  not  per- 
sonajly,  through  his  solicitor  and  through  Peacock,  who 
had  attempted  to  arrange  her  affairs.  Shelley  had, 
moreover,  made  a  provision  for  her  in  his  will.  As 
Hookham's  letter  shows,  early  in  November  Shelley 
had  written  to  him  asking  for  information  of  Harriet 

1  Professor  Dowden  states  that  the  words  omitted  here  have  no  refer- 
ence to  Shelley. 

a  The  verdict  in  fact  was  "  Found  Dead." 


Shelley  in  England 

and  the  children.  Hookham,  however,  had  failed  to 
obtain  any  tidings  of  her,  as  she  apparently  had  left 
her  father's  house,  and  about  the  gth  of  September, 
that  is,  two  days  after  Shelley's  return  from  the  Con- 
tinent, she  had  taken  lodgings  at  7  Elizabeth  Street, 
Hans  Place,  Chelsea.  On  November  gth  she  left  the 
lodgings  never  to  return,  and  on  December  loth  her 
body  was  taken  out  of  the  Serpentine. 

The  veil  that  for  so  many  years  obscured  the  last 
days  of  Harriet  Shelley  has  been  partially  lifted  by  the 
recent  discovery,  through  the  diligence  of  Mr.  Charles 
Withall,  of  the  official  papers  relating  to  the  coroner's 
inquest  on  her  body.1  The  inquest  was  held  by  John 
Henry  Cell,  the  Coroner,  at  the  house  of  Thomas 
Phillips,  known  by  the  sign  of  the  Fox,  Knightsbridge, 
on  Wednesday,  December  n,  1816,  Harriet  Shelley's 
name  being  given  as  that  of  Harriet  Smith.  This  inn, 
which  seems  to  have  been  called  the  Fox  and  Bull,  for- 
merly stood  west  of  what  is  now  known  as  Albert  Gate, 
and  was  for  many  years  the  receiving  house  of  the  Royal 
Humane  Society.  There  was  an  old  wooden  gate  at  the 
back,  opening  into  Hyde  Park,  and  it  was  through 
this  gate  that  the  bodies  of  persons  drowned  in  the 
Serpentine  were  conveyed.  It  was  said  that  Harriet 
was  known  to  the  landlord's  daughter,  Miss  Mary  Ann 
Phillips,  and  for  that  reason  her  remains  were  treated 

1  See  Appendix  for  copies  of  the  original  documents. 

The  Death  of  Harriet 

with  especial  tenderness,  and   spared   the  degrading 
burial  "  then  awarded  to  the  suicide."  l 

About  September  gth,  Harriet,  accompanied  by  a 
Mr.  Alder,  had  taken  the  second  floor  in  the  house  of 
Mrs.  Jane  Thomas,  a  widow,  at  7  Elizabeth  Street, 
Hans  Place,  Chelsea.2  Harriet  stated  that  she  was 
married  and  that  her  husband  was  abroad.  She  en- 
gaged the  rooms  from  month  to  month,  and  had  been 
with  Mrs.  Thomas  about  nine  weeks  on  November  gth, 
and  on  the  Thursday  preceding  that  date,  she  paid  her 
month's  rent.  Mrs.  Thomas  stated  that  Harriet  ap- 
peared to  be  enceinte,  and  that  while  she  lived  with 
her  she  was  very  gloomy.  Mary  Jones,  Mrs.  Thomas's 
servant,  spoke  of  Harriet's  continual  lowness  of  spirits, 
that  she  said  very  little  and  chiefly  spent  her  time  in 
bed  ;  that  she  saw  nothing  but  what  was  proper  in  her 
conduct.  That  on  Saturday,  November  gth,  after  having 
breakfasted,  Harriet  told  Mary  Jones  that  she  wished 
to  dine  early,  consequently  the  meal  was  prepared  for 
her  by  about  four  o'clock ;  that  she  was  not,  however, 
occupied  with  it  more  than  ten  minutes.  The  maid 
observed  that  on  going  into  her  room  at  five  o'clock 
Harriet  was  not  there.  She  had  gone  out  without  taking 
leave  of  anyone,  and  was  not  seen  again. 

1  Davis'    Memorials    of  Knightsbridge,    1859.      I   am    indebted   to 
Mr.  Walter  H.  Whitear  of  Chiswick  for  this  interesting  reference. 

2  In  a  deed  among  the  Shelley- Whitton  papers  dated  May  I,  1815, 
Shelley  is  described  as  of  Hans  Place,  Chelsea. 


Shelley  in   England 

William  Alder,  a  plumber,  who  lodged  at  the  Fox 
public-house,  stated  that  he  knew  the  deceased.  It 
was  he  who  had  accompanied  her  when  she  took  the 
apartments  at  Elizabeth  Street.  He  appears  to  have 
been  in  her  confidence,  for  he  knew  she  was  about 
twenty-one  years  of  age,  had  been  married  about  five 
years,  and  was  living  apart  from  her  husband.  Alder 
also  stated,  as  he  was  informed,  that  Harriet  had  been 
missing  from  her  house  upwards  of  a  month ;  that 
at  the  request  of  her  parents,  after  she  had  been  absent 
about  a  week,  he  dragged  the  Serpentine  and  all  the 
other  ponds  near  thereto  without  any  result.  Alder, 
like  other  witnesses,  noticed  that  Harriet  had  for  some 
time  laboured  under  lowness  of  spirits,  which,  he  said, 
he  "  had  observed  for  several  months  before,"  and  he 
"  conceived  that  something  lay  heavy  on  her  mind." 
On  hearing  that  a  body  had  been  found,  Alder  went 
to  look  at  it,  and  recognised  it  as  the  missing  woman. 
The  body  was  discovered  by  John  Levesley  of  38 
Dannings  Alley,  Bishopsgate  Street  Within,  an  out- 
pensioner  of  Chelsea  Hospital.  About  ten  o'clock  on 
Tuesday  morning,  December  loth,  as  he  was  walking 
by  the  side  of  the  Serpentine  on  his  way  to  Kensington, 
he  noticed  something  floating  in  the  water,  which  he 
conceived  was  a  human  body.  He  therefore  called 
to  a  boy  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  water  to  bring  over 
his  boat,  which  he  did  after  some  time,  to  the  side  on 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

which  Levesley  stood,  whereupon  he  got  into  the  boat 
and  found  that  the  floating  object  was  the  dead  body 
of  a  woman  ;  he  had  no  doubt  that  it  must  have  lain 
in  the  water  for  some  days. 

As  there  were  no  marks  of  violence  on  the  body,  and 
there  was  an  absence  of  evidence  how  or  by  what 
means  the  deceased  met  her  death,  a  verdict  was  re- 
turned of  "  Found  dead  in  the  Serpentine  River." 

The  Times  of  December  12,  1816,  the  day  after  the 
inquest,  contains  the  following  : 

"  On  Tuesday  [December  loth]  a  respectable  female 
far  advanced  in  pregnancy  was  taken  out  of  the 
Serpentine  River  and  brought  home  to  her  residence 
in  Queen  Street,  Brompton,  having  been  missed  for 
nearly  six  weeks.  She  had  a  valuable  ring  on  her 
finger.  A  want  of  honour  in  her  own  conduct  is  sup- 
posed to  have  led  to  this  fatal  catastrophe,  her  husband 
being  abroad." 

The  reference  to  Harriet's  condition  in  this  state- 
ment is  not  borne  out  by  the  evidence  given  at  the 
inquest,  the  only  allusion  being  that  of  her  landlady, 
whose  words  were :  "  She  appeared  in  the  family 
way."  From  Alder's  evidence  it  is  clear  that  the 
family  were  acquainted  with  Harriet's  whereabouts 
after  she  had  left  Chapel  Street,  but  it  does  not  appear 
whether  she  had  kept  them  informed  of  her  address 
or  how  they  became  aware  of  it.  Harriet  was  evi 


Shelley  in  England 

dently  known  by  the  name  of  Smith  at  her  lodgings, 
as  she  was  so  described  at  the  inquest.  If  the  West- 
brooks  knew  of  her  death  before  the  inquest,  they 
refrained  from  disclosing  her  real  name,  apparently 
in  order  to  conceal  her  identity.  Harriet's  death 
could  hardly  have  taken  place  immediately  after  she 
left  her  lodgings,  otherwise  her  body  would  scarcely 
have  been  recognisable,  after  being  in  the  water  for 
a  month.  Where  was  she  living  in  the  meantime  ? 

In  an  unpublished  passage  contained  in  a  letter 
written  by  Shelley  to  Mary  after  the  inquest,  he  said 
that  Harriet  had  been  driven  from  her  father's  house 
by  the  persecution  of  her  sister,  who  wished  to  secure 
Mr.  Westbrook's  fortune  for  herself,  and  that  Harriet, 
having  lived  with  a  groom  of  the  name  of  Smith,  had 
been  deserted  by  him.1  If  Shelley  believed  that 
Harriet  had  been  living  with  another  man,  it  is  more 
than  probable  that  he  concluded  that  the  man's  name 
was  Smith. 

Perhaps  the  explanation  of  her  adopting  the  name 
of  Smith  may  be  gathered  from  the  following  entries 

1  It  is  significant  that  Thornton  Hunt,  in  his  article  "Shelley ;  by  one 
who  knew  him,"  Atlantic  Monthly,  Feb.  1863,  wrote  :  "  If  she  left  him  " 
[meaning,  I  suppose,  if  Harriet  was  the  first  to  break  her  union  with 
Shelley,  as  she  undoubtedly  was,  when  she  went  off  to  Bath  with  her 
little  girl  in  July  1814],  "it  would  appear  that  she  herself  was  deserted 
in  turn  by  a  man  in  a  very  humble  grade  of  life  ;  and  it  was  in  conse- 
quence of  this  desertion  that  she  killed  herself."  Mr.  Swinburne  in  his 
article  on  Shelley  in  Chamber  s's  Cyclopedia  of  English  Literature,  1903, 
vol.  iii.  p.  107,  refers  to  Harriet  as  "the  wife  who  had  deserted"  Shelley. 


The  Death  of  Harriet 

under  the  year  1816  in  the  register  of  burials  in  the 
parish  of  Padding  ton  : 





By  whom 
the  Ceremony 

Benjamin  Smith. 

Mount  Street, 
St.  George's, 
Hanover  Square 

December  1  1 


Jos.  Pickering, 

Harriett  Smith. 

Mount  Street, 
St.  George's, 
Hanover  Square 

December  13 


Jos.  Pickering. 

That  the  second  of  these  entries  relates  to  Harriet 
Shelley  there  can  be  but  little  doubt.  She  was  accus- 
tomed at  times  to  spell  her  name  with  the  double  t,1 
she  was  twenty-one  at  the  date  of  her  death,  and 
Mount  Street  was  close  to  her  father's  residence  and 
in  the  neighbourhood  of  The  Mount  coffee-house, 
where  he  had  made  his  fortune.  Perhaps  Benjamin 
Smith,  who  is  described  as  a  shopkeeper  or  painter 
and  glazier  of  61  Mount  Street,2  was  an  old  acquaint- 

1  She  was  christened  "  Harriet,"  but  Shelley  in  his  letter  to  Medwin, 
October  21,  1811,  wrote:  "The  maiden  name  is  Harriett  Westbrook, 
with  two  t's — Harriett." 

a  In  Johnstone's  Commercial  Directory  corrected  to  August  31,  1817, 
the  name  of  Benjamin  Smith  does  not  appear.  In  Johnstone's  Triennial 
Directory  for  1817,  1 8 18,  1819,  and  again  for  1822,  1823,  1824,  the  name 
of  Benjamin  Smith  of  Mount  Street,  Shopkeeper,  appears,  but  the 
number  of  the  house  is  not  there  stated.  Perhaps  Smith's  business  was 
carried  on  after  his  death,  his  name  being  retained. 

481  2  H 

Shelley  in  England 

ance  of  the  Westbrooks,  and  he  may  have  received  her 
into  his  family  after  she  had  left  her  lodgings.  It  is  in- 
conceivable, if  the  relations  between  Harriet  and  Smith 
had  been  such  as  Shelley  believed,  that  she  should 
have  gone  to  live  practically  next  door  to  her  father's 
house.  Benjamin  Smith,  moreover,  was  thirty-three 
years  Harriet's  senior,  and  she  was  not  destitute. 

Harriet  Shelley's  place  of  burial  has  not  hitherto 
been  revealed.  Mr.  Whitton's  successor,  Mr.  Gregson, 
according  to  his  diary  for  1856,  was  unable  to  ascer- 
tain where  she  was  interred,  although  inquiries  were 
made  of  Hookham  and  Miss  Clairmont.  The  follow- 
ing reference,  however  (which  had  evidently  escaped 
the  notice  of  Mr.  Gregson),  contained  in  a  letter, 
dated  July  8,  1823,  from  Mr.  Powell  (the  solicitor  to 
Shelley's  executors)  to  Mr.  Whitton,  "Mrs.  Shelley 
was  buried,  I  understand,  at  Paddington,"  led  to  a 
search  being  made  there  recently  in  the  name  of 
Harriet  Smith.  The  place  of  burial  of  a  person  living 
at  Hans  Place  would  have  been  at  St.  Luke's,  Chelsea, 
and  at  Mount  Street,  in  the  parish  of  St.  George, 
Hanover  Square,  in  the  burial-ground  at  the  back  of 
Mount  Street.  It  was  not  unusual  for  persons  to  be 
buried  outside  their  parishes,  and  perhaps  the  West- 
brooks  may  have  wished  that  Hairiet's  funeral  should 
not  take  place  in  the  burial-ground  so  near  to  their 


The  Death   of  Harriet 

On  making  inquiries  at  Paddington,  Mr.  Charles 
Withall  was  informed  that,  when  it  was  proposed  to 
convert  the  churchyard  into  a  recreation  ground,  the 
local  authorities  had  a  plan  made  showing  the  position 
of  the  various  graves,  and  they  kept  a  record  of  such 
inscriptions  as  were  decipherable  on  the  tombstones. 
In  this  record  there  is  no  entry  of  "  Harriett  Smith," 
but  there  is  an  entry  of  a  flat  stone,  bearing  the 
name  HARRIETT,  the  remainder  of  the  inscription 
being  entirely  obliterated.  The  position  of  this  grave 
is  in  the  north  portion  of  the  churchyard  on  the  east 
side,  and  second  from  the  grave,  in  a  northerly  direc- 
tion, of  a  person  of  the  name  of  Holloway,  whose 
gravestone  is  still  visible.  On  converting  the  church- 
yard the  representatives  of  Holloway  claimed  to 
retain  the  stone  of  his  grave  in  situ  ;  the  unclaimed 
tombstones  (and  Harriet's  was  one  of  these)  were 
buried  three  feet  below  their  original  positions.  The 
register  of  graves  belonging  to  the  church  is  missing. 

The  idea  of  suicide  with  Harriet  must  have  been  an 
obsession  :  she  had  contemplated  it  since  her  school- 
days as  a  solution  to  her  troubles,  and  later  she  seems 
to  have  discussed  it  as  a  means  of  escape  from  the 
weariness  of  life.  In  a  letter  from  Shelley  to  Miss 
Kitchener,  written  in  October  1811,  when  referring  to 
the  causes  that  led  to  his  marriage  with  Harriet,  he 
said  :  "  Suicide  was  with  her  a  favourite  theme." 


Shelley  in  England 

Hogg  also  especially  noticed  how  her  mind  continually 
ran  on  self-destruction.  It  is  not  surprising,  then,  in 
the  circumstances  in  which  she  found  herself  during 
the  early  days  of  December  1816,  that  she  should 
have  taken  her  life.  The  Serpentine  would  have  been 
familiar  to  her  owing  to  its  proximity  to  her  lodgings 
at  Chelsea. 

Shelley  went  to  London  on  the  same  day  that  the 
news  of  Harriet's  death  reached  him,  to  claim  his  chil- 
dren, who  were  in  the  keeping  of  the  Westbrooks.  He 
wrote  to  Mary  on  the  following  day,  saying  that  he 
had  "  spent  a  day  of  somewhat  agonizing  sensations, 
such  as  the  contemplation  of  vice  and  folly  and  hard- 
heartedness,  exceeding  all  conception,  must  produce. 
Leigh  Hunt  has  been  with  me  all  day,  and  his  delicate 
attentions  to  me,  his  kind  speeches  of  you,  have  sus- 
tained me  against  the  weight  of  the  horror  of  this 
event.  ...  It  is  through  you  that  I  can  entertain 
without  despair  the  recollections  of  the  horrors  of 
unutterable  villany  that  led  to  this  dark,  dreadful 
death."  Shelley's  allusion  to  hard-heart edness  was 
evidently  directed  to  Eliza  Westbrook. 

Leigh  Hunt,  who  should  have  been  in  a  position  to 
speak  of  the  effect  of  Harriet's  death  on  Shelley,  said 
that  "  it  was  a  heavy  blow  to  him,  and  he  never  for- 
got it.  For  a  time,  it  tore  his  being  to  pieces  :  nor 
is  there  any  doubt  that,  however  deeply  he  was  accus- 


The  Death   of  Harriet 

tomed  to  reason  on  the  nature  and  causes  of  evil, 
and  on  the  steps  necessary  to  be  taken  for  opposing 
it,  he  was  not  without  remorse  for  having  no  better 
exercised  his  judgment  with  regard  to  the  degree  of 
intellect  he  had  allied  himself  with  and  for  having 
given  rise  to  a  premature  independence  of  conduct 
in  one  unequal  to  the  task."  In  other  words,  Shelley 
admitted  that,  in  having  married  Harriet,  he  had  made 
a  grave  mistake,  and  a  mistake,  moreover,  which 
proved  to  be  the  source  of  tragedy  and  endless  mis- 

Shelley  did  not  regard  himself  as  responsible  for  his 
wife's  tragic  end.  In  writing  to  Southey  some  years 
later,  who  had  called  him  to  account  for  this  tragedy, 
he  said  :  "I  take  God  to  witness,  if  such  a  Being  is 
now  regarding  both  you  and  me,  and  I  pledge  myself, 
if  we  meet,  as  perhaps  you  expect,  before  Him  after 
death,  to  repeat  the  same  in  His  presence — that  you 
accuse  me  wrongfully.  I  am  innocent  of  ill,  either 
done  or  intended  ;  the  consequences  you  allude  to 
flowed  in  no  respect  from  me.  If  you  were  my  friend 
I  could  tell  you  a  history  that  would  make  you  open 
your  eyes ;  but  I  shall  certainly  never  make  the  public 
my  familiar  confidant." l  Shelley  had  made  for  Harriet 
a  provision  which,  with  the  allowance  from  her  father, 
amounted  to  £400  per  annum.  Even  if  she  had  not 

1  Shelley  to  R.  Southey,  August  20,  1820. 


Shelley  in  England 

lived  with  her  two  children  at  Mr.  Westbrook's  house, 
this  sum  should  have  been  adequate.  Shelley  was 
told  by  Godwin  in  January  1817  that  he  had  evidence 
of  Harriet's  unfaithfulness  to  him  four  months  before 
he  eloped  with  Mary  Godwin,  but  one  ought  not  to 
place  much  reliance  on  Godwin's  testimony,  as  he 
was  an  interested  witness.  Harriet  had  her  advocates 
in  Peacock,  Hookham,  and  Thornton  Hunt.  All  be- 
lieved that  she  was  not  unfaithful  to  Shelley  before 
he  eloped  with  Mary  Godwin,  and  they  have  as  much 
right  to  be  heard  as  Godwin.1  In  la-ter  years  many 
have  pleaded  Harriet's  cause,  but  none  with  such 
simple  eloquence  as  Mr.  William  Watson  in  his 
couplets : 

"  A  star  looked  down  from  heaven  and  loved  a  flower 
Grown  in  earth's  garden — loved  it  for  an  hour  : 
Let  eyes  which  trace  his  orbit  in  the  spheres 
Refuse  not,  to  a  ruined  rosebud,  tears." 

1  Trelawny  in  his  Records  of  Shelley,  Byron  and  the  Author,  1878, 
vol.  i.  p.  15,  wrote:  "I  was  assured  by  the  evidence  of  the  few  friends 
who  knew  both  Shelley  and  his  wife — Hookham,  who  kept  the  great 
library  in  Bond  Street,  Jefferson  Hogg,  Peacock,  and  one  of  the  Godwins 
— that  Harriet  was  perfectly  innocent  of  all  offence.' 



Shelley's  second  marriage — The  Chancery  case — Guardians  for  the 
children — Charles  Bysshe  Shelley  goes  to  school — His  death — lanthe 
Shelley — John  Westbrook's  death  and  will — Shelley's  life  at  Marlow 
— Laon  and  Cythna — Clare  Clairmont — Godwin's  debts — Shelley 
arrested  for  debt — "The  Hermit  of  Marlow"  pamphlets — The 
Shelleys  depart  from  Marlow — Christening  the  children — Leave- 
taking  in  London. 

SHELLEY  not  only  failed  to  obtain  possession  of  his 
children,  but  he  anticipated  the  possibility  of  the 
Westbrooks  contesting  his  claim  for  them.  He  wrote  1 
to  Mary:-  "If  they  should  dare  to  bring  it  before 
Chancery,  a  scene  of  such  fearful  horror  would  be 
unfolded  as  would  cover  them  with  scorn  and  shame." 
Shelley  was  told  by  his  solicitor  that  all  pretence  to 
detain  the  children  would  cease  in  the  event  of  his 
marriage  to  Mary  Godwin,  but  the  marriage  was 
hastened  by  other  causes. 

Notwithstanding  that  Godwin  had  formerly  ex- 
pressed an  abhorrence  of  marriage  vows,  he  had  him- 
self married  Mary  Wollstonecraft,  and  after  her  death 
he  had  gone  through  the  ceremony,  for  a  second  time, 
with  Mrs.  Clairmont.  He  did  not  disguise  his  desire 

1  Shelley  to  Mary,  Dec.  16,  1816. 


Shelley  in  England 

that  his  daughter  Mary  should  marry  Shelley,  now 
that  he  was  free,  and  he  wished  that  the  ceremony 
should  take  place  without  delay.  Mary  acquiesced, 
realising  that  until  she  was  married  she  could  not 
hope  for,  what  she  earnestly  desired,  a  reconciliation 
with  her  father.  Clare  Clairmont  stated  that  the 
question  whether  the  marriage  of  Shelley  should  take 
place  at  once  or  be  delayed  was  put  before  Sir  Lumley 
Skemngton,  to  whom,  without  mentioning  any  names, 
the  circumstances  were  explained.  Sir  Lumley,  who 
advised  them  to  marry  at  once,  had  enjoyed,  at  one 
time,  notoriety  as  a  leader  of  fashion,  but  his  advice 
was  sought,  perhaps,  because  he  was  both  a  man  of 
the  world  and  a  man  of  honour. 

The  marriage,  therefore,  was  hurried  on,  and  it  took 
place  on  December  30 th  by  licence l  at  St.  Mildred's 
Church,  Bread  Street,  a  London  street  which  is  also 
identified  with  England's  other  great  republican  poet, 
Milton,  who  was  born  there  in  1608.  The  morning 
of  the  day  before  the  ceremony  was  spent  by  Shelley 
and  Mary  at  the  Hunts',  and  the  evening  was  passed 
by  them,  '  not  unpleasantly,"  at  Skinner  Street  with 
the  Godwins.  The  Godwins'  hospitality  to  the  bridal 
pair  included  breakfast  before  they  started  for  the 
church,  also  dinner  and  supper  after  their  return. 
Godwin  was  undoubtedly  gratified  by  the  marriage, 

1  A  copy  of  the  licence  will  be  found  in  the  Appendix. 


and  he  recorded  the  event  in  his  diary  with  something 
less  than   even  his  accustomed   brevity :     "  Call  at 
Mildred  w[ith]  P.  B.  S.,  M.  W.  G.,  and  M.  J." 
The  following  is  the  entry  in  the  church  register  : 

Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  of  the  Parish  of  Saint  Mildred 
Bread  Street  London  Widower  and  Mary  Wollstone- 
craft Godwin  of  the  City  of  Bath  Spinster  a  Minor, 
were  married  in  this  Church  by  Licence,  with  the 
consent  of  William  Godwin  her  Father  this  Thirtieth 
Day  of  December  in  the  Year  One  thousand  eight 
hundred  and  Sixteen. 

By  me  Wm.  Hey  don,  Curate. 

_..,,.  .     ,  r  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley. 

This  Marriage  was  solemmzed  I         *  Wollstonecraft 

1    Godwin. 

In  the  Presence  of  {William  Godwin. 
(  M.  J .  Godwin. 

After  the  ceremony  Shelley  wrote  to  Clare,  who  was 
at  Bath,  saying  that  he  should  return  to  that  place 
with  Mary  on  January  i,  1817.  He  told  her  that  "  The 
Ceremony,  so  magical,  was  undergone  this  morning  at 
St.  Mildred's  church  in  the  City.  Mrs.  G.  and  G.  were 
both  present,  and  appeared  to  feel  no  little  satisfac- 
tion. Indeed  Godwin  throughout  has  shown  the  most 
polished  and  courteous  attentions  to  me  and  Mary. 
He  seems  to  think  no  kindness  too  great  in  compensa- 
tion for  what  has  passed.  I  confess  I  am  not  entirely 


Shelley  in  England 

deceived  by  this,  though  I  cannot  make  my  vanity 
wholly  insensible  to  certain  attentions  paid  in  a  manner 
studiously  flattering.  Mrs.  G.  presents  herself  to  me 
in  her  real  attributes  of  affectation,  prejudice,  and 
heartless  pride.  Towards  her,  I  confess  I  never  feel 
an  emotion  of  anything  but  antipathy.  Her  sweet 
daughter  [that  is,  Clare]  is  very  dear  to  me." 

Shelley  had  now  made  repeated  demands  to  the 
Westbrooks  for  his  children,  without  avail.  The 
result  of  these  applications  was  that  the  Westbrooks 
at  once  took  steps  to  make  the  children  wards  of 
Court.  As  a  preliminary  step,  on  January  2,  1817, 
John  Westbrook  executed  a  settlement  of  £2000  four 
per  cent,  annuities  in  favour  of  Harriet's  children, 
Eliza  lanthe  and  Charles  Bysshe.  The  parties  to  the 
settlement  were  John  Westbrook  of  the  first  part, 
the  infant  children  of  the  second  part,  and  Elizabeth 
Westbrook  and  John  Higham  of  Grosvenor  Street  of 
the  third  part. 

On  January  loth  the  infants,  by  John  Westbrook 
(their  next  friend),  filed  a  Bill  in  Chancery  against 
Elizabeth  Westbrook  and  John  Higham  (the  trustees 
of  the  settlement),  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  (their  father), 
Sir  Timothy  Shelley  (their  paternal  grandfather), 
and  John  Westbrook  (their  maternal  grandfather), 
praying  that  the  Court  might  appoint  John  West- 
brook  and  Eliza  Westbrook,  or  some  other  proper 



persons,  to  act  as  their  guardians,  and  that  their  father 
might  be  restrained  from  taking  possession  of  their 

Mr.  Whitton  conveyed  this  information  to  Sir 
Timothy  in  a  letter  dated  January  17,  1817,  in  which 
he  wrote  : 

"  I  had  wished  to  have  spared  you  all  consideration 
of  the  concerns  of  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley,  but  as  Mr.  West- 
brook  hath  filed  a  Bill  against  him  to  restrain  him 
from  taking  the  custody  of  the  children  and  that  a 
guardian  may  be  appointed  to  them  on  the  ground 
of  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley's  tenets,  I  do  not  think  myself 
justified  in  withholding  that  information,  as  the  sub- 
ject will  be  heard  on  Tuesday  morning  in  his  Lord- 
ship's private  room  in  the  hope  that  the  ground  of 
the  application  may  not  be  made  publick.  To  support 
this  application  the  publication  of  Queen  Mob,  and  a 
printed  letter  addressed  to  Lord  Ellenborough  in 
justification  of  Daniel  Isaac  Eaton  who  was  lately 
convicted  of  publishing  blasphemous  works  deriding 
the  Christian  religion  are  produced.  They  have  also 

1  Among  the  Shelley- Whitton  papers  there  are  the  following  docu- 
ments relating  to  the  Shelley  and  Westbrook  case  :  Public  Record  copies 
of  the  Bill  of  Complaint  (Jan.  8,  1817) ;  Answer  of  P.  B.  Shelley  (Jan.  18, 
iSt;);  Answer  of  John  Westbrook  (Jan.  18,  1817);  Master's  Report 
(April  28,  1818)  ;  Second  affidavit  of  Elizabeth  Westbrook  (Jan.  13,  1817) ; 
Affidavit  of  P.  W.  Longdill  (May  24,  1821);  also  contemporary  office 
copies  of  Elizabeth  Westbrook's  affidavit  (Jan.  10,  1817) ;  and  affidavit 
of  John  Westbrook  and  Mr.  Morphett  (Feb.  24,  1818) ;  Order  for  mes- 
senger to  bring  Shelley's  infant  son  into  court  (Mar.  2,  1815) ;  Copy 
order  directing  Sir  Timothy,  out  of  the  annual  sum  of  ^1000  payable  by 
him  to  his  son,  to  pay  £120  per  annum  to  Mr.  Hume,  and  also  certain 
arrears  due  to  him  (April  19,  1821). 


Shelley  in  England 

exhibited  several  letters  written  to  the  late  Mrs. 
Shelley — all  tending  to  show  his,  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley's, 
total  unfitness  for  the  care  he  seeks.  These  documents 
are  so  introduced  as  not  to  put  them  before  the  pub- 
lick,  but  whether  their  tendency  shall  be  preserved  in 
the  breast  of  the  few  who  are  professionally  concerned 
I  know  not.  I  have  endeavoured  to  awaken  Mr. 
Shelley  through  Mr.  Longdill  to  the  perils  of  his  present 
conduct :  for  I  understand  it  is  intended  that  he 
should  oppose  the  application  of  Mr.  Westbrook,  which 
will  necessarily  lead  to  an  exposure  of  his  unworthy 
thoughts  and  actions,  and  I  know  not  what  a  Court 
of  Justice  may  be  induced  to  the  author  of  so  much 
unjustifiable  matter  as  is  stated  throughout  the  pages 
of  his  books.  What  effect  remonstrances  or  rather 
the  observations  I  have  made  will  have  I  know  not ; 
but  most  certain  am  I  that  the  Lord  Chancellor  will 
not  allow  him  to  have  the  care  of  or  communication 
with  his  own  children.  He  says  that  it  is  merely  from 
a  feeling  of  resentment  that  this  measure  is  taken,  and 
that  Mr.  Westbrook  and  his  daughter  are  equally  unfit 
with  himself  to  have  the  care  of  infants  from  the  turpi- 
tude of  their  own  conduct.  I  think  that  Miss  West- 
brook  is  unworthy  and  Mr.  Westbrook  is  unequal  to 
the  care  whatever  his  will  may  be.  In  these  circum- 
stances a  stranger  must  be  resorted  to,  and  I  can  easily 
conceive  that  the  Lord  Chancellor  will  look  to  you  as 
the  superintending  protector  of  these  little  unoffending 
creatures.  Can  you  be  in  town,  or  will  you  furnish 
me  with  your  sentiments  ?  Mr.  Westbrook  has  settled 
£2000  £4  p.c.  on  the  children  in  order  to  bring  them 
within  the  protection  of  the  Court.  Any  sum,  however 
small,  would  have  been  sufficient." 



Whitton's  statement  covers  the  chief  points  in  the 
Bill  of  Complaint.  The  Bill  relates,  however,  that  while 
Harriet  was  expecting  the  birth  of  her  son  Charles, 
"  Shelley  became  acquainted  with  a  Mr.  Godwin,  the 
author  of  a  work  called  Political  Justice,  and  with 
Mary  his  daughter,  and  that  the  said  Percy  Bysshe 
Shelley  about  three  years  ago  deserted  his  said  wife 
and  unlawfully  cohabited  with  the  said  Mary  Godwin," 
and  that  Harriet  thereupon  returned  with  lanthe  to 
her  father's  house,  where  she  afterwards  gave  birth 
to  Charles  Bysshe,  and  that  the  children  had  since 
continued  and  were  then  in  the  custody  of  John  West- 
brook  and  his  daughter  Eliza,  and  that  since  Harriet 
was  deserted  by  her  husband  "  until  a  short  time 
previously  to  the  time  of  her  death  she  lived  with  the 
said  John  Westbrook  her  father  and  that  in  the  month 
of  December  she  died."  It  also  stated  that  Shelley 
had  lived,  since  he  deserted  his  wife,  "  with  the  said 
Mary  Godwin  and  is  now  unlawfully  cohabiting  with 
her  and  has  had  several  illegitimate  children  by  her." 
That  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  did,  in  the  year  1815, 
concur  with  the  said  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  in  making 
a  settlement  of  certain  estates  whereby  the  said 
Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  became  and  was  then  entitled 
to  a  yearly  charge  or  annuity  of  £1000,  subject  to  the 
payment  thereout  of  the  yearly  sum  of  £200  to  Harriet, 
and  that  Sir  Timothy  had  contracted  to  make  some 


Shelley  in  England 

provision  for  the  children,  who,  while  they  lived  with 
Mr.  Westbrook,  were  supported  partly  by  him  and 
partly  by  their  mother.  That  since  the  death  of 
Harriet,  Shelley  had  demanded  the  children,  and 
should  they  be  delivered  up  to  him  he  intended  to 
educate  them  as  he  thought  proper. 

Eliza  Westbrook  in  her  first  affidavit  (dated  Janu- 
ary 10,  1817)  swore  that  she  was  well  acquainted  with 
the  handwriting  of  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  having  seen 
him  frequently  write,  and  she  identified  certain  speci- 
fied letters  J  as  being  in  Shelley's  handwriting  and 
addressed  to  her  sister  Harriet,  his  late  wife  ;  and  she 
stated  that  the  female  mentioned  in  the  letters  under 
the  designation  of  "  Mary  "  was  Mary  Godwin,  with 
whom  Shelley  in  the  lifetime  of  his  wife  and  about  the 
middle  of  the  year  1814  took  to  cohabit  with  him,  and 
had  ever  since  continued  to  cohabit,  and  still  did  co- 
habit, with  him.  Eliza  also  swore  that  another  speci- 
fied letter  was  in  the  handwriting  of  Shelley,  and  was 
addressed  by  him  to  the  defendant,  Eliza  Westbrook, 
after  the  decease  of  her  sister,  the  late  wife  of  the 
defendant,  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  and  that  the  person 
referred  to  in  this  letter  as  "the  Lady  whose  union 
with  the  said  defendant  this  Deponent  might  excusably 

1  These  letters,  nine  in  number,  have  unfortunately  disappeared.  It 
is  not  the  practice  of  the  courts  to  file  exhibits,  consequently  copies  of 
them  are  not  to  be  found  at  the  Record  Office.  The  originals  would  have 
remained  with  the  Westbrooks3  solicitors. 



regard  as  the  cause  of  her  sister's  ruin  "  was  also  the 
said  Mary  Godwin.  She  also  swore  that  the  copy  of 
Queen  Mab  with  the  subjoined  notes  and  A  Letter  to 
Lord  Ellenborough  were  written  and  published  by 
Shelley,  she  having  frequently  seen  the  manuscript 
of  such  respective  books  in  the  handwriting  of  the 
said  defendant,  and  having  repeatedly  seen  him  en- 
gaged in  writing  the  same,  and  that  these  books  then 
produced  were  presented  by  the  defendant  to  his  late 
wife,  and  that  since  her  death  she  had  received  several 
applications  from  the  said  defendant  Percy  Bysshe 
Shelley,  and  from  Mr.  Leigh  Hunt  on  his  behalf,  de- 
manding the  infant  plaintiffs  to  be  delivered  to  the 
said  defendant,  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley. 

In  Eliza  Westbrook's  second  affidavit  (dated  Janu- 
ary 13,  1817)  she  swore  that  Shelley  had  married 
Harriet. in  August  1811,  and  that  after  the  birth  of 
Eliza  lanthe,  and  while  Harriet  was  pregnant  with 
Charles  Bysshe,  Shelley  deserted  his  wife,  and,  as  she 
[Eliza]  "  hath  been  informed  and  verily  believes," 
unlawfully  cohabited  with  Mary  Godwin.  That  there- 
upon the  said  Harriet  had  returned  to  the  house  of 
her  father,  John  Westbrook,  with  Eliza  lanthe,  where 
soon  afterwards  she  gave  birth  to  Charles  Bysshe. 
That  the  children  continued  and  were  at  the  date  of 
the  affidavit  in  the  care  and  protection  of  John  West- 
brook.  That  Harriet  had  remained  at  the  house  of 


Shelley  in  England 

her  father  and  in  his  protection  from  the  time  of  her 
desertion  "  until  a  short  time  previously  to  her 
death  .  .  .  and  that  in  the  month  of  December  last 
she  died."  She  also  swore  that  while  the  children 
lived  at  their  grandfather's  they  were  partly  sup- 
ported by  their  mother  and  partly  by  Mr.  Westbrook, 
who,  in  order  to  make  some  provision  for  them,  had 
transferred  the  sum  of  £2000  four  per  cent,  bank 
annuities  into  the  names  of  her,  the  said  Eliza  West- 
brook,  and  of  John  Higham,  upon  the  trusts  contained 
in  the  said  indenture  of  January  2,  1817.  In  the 
sworn  answer  (dated  January  8,  1817)  of  Eliza  West- 
brook  and  John  Higham  they  said  that  they  were 
ready  and  willing  to  transfer  the  stock  into  court. 
In  John  Westbrook 's  sworn  answer  he  admitted  that 
he  had  transferred  the  above-named  sum  into  the 
names  of  Eliza  Westbrook  and  John  Higham,  that  he 
claimed  the  interest  in  the  said  bank  annuities  by 
virtue  of  the  trusts  of  the  said  indenture,  and  denied 
any  unlawful  combination  and  confederacy  with  the 
complainants  in  the  Bill  of  Complaint. 

Shelley's  sworn  answer  is  dated  January  18,  1817. 
He  stated  that  after  the  birth  of  Eliza  lanthe  Shelley 
he  and  Harriet  "  agreed,  in  consequence  of  certain 
differences  between  them,  to  live  separate  and  apart 
from  each  other,"  but  he  denied  that  he  deserted  his 
late  wife  "  otherwise  than  by  separating  from  her  as 



aforesaid."  He  admitted  that  after  the  separation 
Harriet  returned  to  her  father's  house  with  Eliza 
lanthe  Shelley,  and  that  Charles  Bysshe  Shelley  was 
afterwards  born  as  stated  in  the  Bill  of  Complaint, 
that  at  Harriet's  urgent  entreaty  he  permitted  the 
children  "  to  reside  with  her  under  her  management 
and  protection  after  her  separation,"  although  "  he 
was  very  anxious  from  his  affection  for  his  children 
to  have  them  under  his  care  and  management  during 
his  said  wife's  life  but  that  he  forbore  so  to  do  in 
compliance  with  the  wishes  of  his  wife  and  on  account 
of  their  tender  age,  intending  nevertheless  to  have 
them  under  his  own  care  and  to  provide  for  their  edu- 
cation himself  as  soon  as  they  should  be  of  a  proper 
age  or  in  case  of  the  death  of  his  said  wife,  never  having 
in  any  manner  abandoned  or  deserted  them  or  had 
any  intention  of  so  doing.  That  if  the  children  were 
then  in  the  care  of  Eliza  and  John  Westbrook  they 
were  so  against  his  consent,  and  that  they  had  been 
clandestinely  placed  in  some  place  unknown  to  him, 
without  his  being  able  to  find  them  or  have  access  to 
them,  and  that  since  the  death  of  his  wife  he  had 
frequently  applied  to  the  said  Elizabeth  and  John 
Westbrook  and  requested  to  have  his  children  delivered 
up  to  him,  and  that  they  refused  to  deliver  them  up 
or  to  inform  him  where  they  were.  He  denied  that 
he  was  unlawfully  cohabiting  with  Mary  Godwin, 

497  21 

Shelley  in  England 

whom  he  had  married  since  Harriet's  death,  and  he 
denied  that  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  in  the  year  1815 
concurred  with  him  in  making  a  settlement  to  the 
purport  and  effect  in  the  said  Bill  of  Complaint.  That 
up  to  the  month  of  June  1815  he  had  been  in  receipt 
from  his  father  of  an  allowance  of  £200  per  annum 
only,  and  that,  in  consequence,  he  had  become  indebted 
to  certain  persons  in  large  sums  of  money  amounting 
altogether  to  upwards  of  £5000,  and  that  being  pressed 
for  payment  and  being  totally  unable  to  pay  the  sum 
he  had  applied  to  Sir  Timothy,  who  by  arrangement 
with  him  had  advanced  in  June  1815  a  considerable 
sum  of  money  towards  the  payment  of  his  debts  and 
had  secured  to  him  an  annuity  of  £1000  during  the 
joint  lives  of  himself  and  his  father,  by  way  of  rent 
charges  out  of  certain  estates  belonging  to  Sir  Timothy. 
That  although  the  children  may  have  been  supported 
partly  by  their  mother  and  partly  by  John  West- 
brook,  he  (Shelley)  had,  on  his  father  assisting  him 
with  money  and  increasing  his  allowance  to  £1000  a 
year,  '  immediately '  written  to  Sir  Timothy  and 
requested  him  to  give  directions  to  his  bankers  to 
pay  to  the  order  of  the  said  Harriet  Shelley  the  annual 
sum  of  £200  in  quarterly  payments  out  of  his  allow- 
ance, which  was  accordingly  done :  that  the  first 
instalment  had  been  paid  in  June  1815,  and  that  in 
the  same  month  of  June  1815,  he  had  sent  Harriet 



the  full  sum  of  £200  with  which  to  discharge  her  debts. 
That  this  allowance  to  his  wife  was  regularly  paid  to 
Harriet  to  the  time  of  her  death.  That  if  he  got 
possession  of  the  children  he  should  educate  them  as  he 
thought  proper,  which  he  intended  to  do  '  virtuously  ' 
and  properly,  and  to  provide  for  their  support  and 
maintenance  in  a  manner  suitable  to  their  birth  and 
prospects  in  the  world,  and  to  the  best  of  his  judgment 
and  ability  ;  that  he  humbly  submitted  and  insisted 
that  being  their  father  he  was  the  natural  guardian  of 
his  children,  and  that  it  was  his  duty  to  provide  for 
their  maintenance  and  education.  That  in  order  to 
make  provision  for  the  children  sufficient  to  enable 
the  said  John  Westbrook  to  contest  his  just  right  as 
the  father  and  natural  guardian  of  the  children,  but 
not  further  and  as  he  believed  for  no  other  purpose, 
the  said  John  Westbrook  might  have  transferred  the 
sum  of  £2000  bank  annuities  to  Eliza  Westbrook,  John 
Higham  and  another  mentioned  in  the  Bill  of  Com- 
plaint for  the  benefit  of  such  children,  that  his  children 
were  of  such  tender  age  that  they  could  not  from  any 
reasonable  ground  of  objection  on  their  part  be  de- 
sirous that  they  should  not  be  placed  in  his  custody, 
not  being  of  sufficient  age,  as  he  submitted  and  insisted, 
to  judge  for  themselves  either  as  to  that  or  any  other 
circumstances  that  could  affect  their  future  prospects 
or  welfare  in  life.  And  he  humbly  submitted  and 


Shelley  in  England 

insisted  that  he  was  exclusively  entitled  to  their  cus- 
tody and  care,  and  that  he  ought  not  to  be  deprived 
thereof  or  to  have  his  just  rights  as  their  father  and 
natural  guardian  taken  from  him  or  abridged,  and  that 
they  ought  to  be  delivered  up  to  him." 

Sir  Samuel  Romilly,  one  of  the  leading  members  of 
the  Chancery  bar,  was  engaged  for  the  Westbrooks. 
Charles  Wetherell  was  Shelley's  leading  counsel,  and 
he  was  supported  by  Basil  Montagu  and  Mr.  Bell, 
none  of  whom,  unfortunately  for  Shelley,  were  so 
skilled  as  Romilly  for  eloquence  and  experience. 
Wetherell,  who  subsequently  defended  successfully 
James  Watson  in  a  high-treason  case,  was  knighted 
some  years  later.  Montagu  was  the  learned  editor 
of  Bacon  and  the  friend  of  Godwin  and  Charles  Lamb, 
but  he  was  no  match  for  Romilly. 

Reporters  were  not  admitted  to  the  court,  but  a 
short  account  of  the  proceedings  appeared  in  the 
Morning  Chronicle,  probably  from  hearsay. 

Mr.  WetherelTs  brief,  which  was  prepared  by  Long- 
dill,  contains  the  following  observations  on  the  Bill  of 
Complaint.1  Little,  it  was  admitted,  could  be  said 
in  defence  of  Queen  Mab,  but  that  it  was  written 
and  printed  by  the  author  when  he  was  only  nine- 

1  The  brief,  in  the  possession  of  Mr.  H.  Buxton  Forman,  C.B.,  was 
quoted  from  at  length  in  the  Life  of  Shelley  by  Professor  Dowden,  of 
whose  account  of  the  Chancery  proceedings  I  have  ventured  to  make 
liberal  use. 



teen,  and  only  distributed  to  personal  friends ;  twenty 
copies,  it  appears,  had  got  abroad.  The  copy  re- 
ferred to  by  Miss  Westbrook  was  one  that  Shelley 
had  given  confidentially  to  his  late  wife.  He  had 
not  been  able  to  obtain  a  copy  of  the  Letter  to 
Lord  Eilenborough,  as  only  a  few  copies  were  printed 
and  none  ever  circulated  publicly.  Notwithstanding 
Shelley's  "  violent  philippics  against  the  despotism  of 
marriage,"  he  had  married  twice  before  he  was  twenty- 
five,  and  was  "  no  sooner  liberated  from  the  despotic 
chains,  which  he  speaks  of  with  so  much  horror  and 
contempt,  than  he  forges  a  new  set  and  becomes  a 
willing  victim  of  this  horrid  despotism."  It  was 
hoped  that  a  consideration  of  the  difference  between 
his  speculative  opinions  and  his  actions  would  induce 
the  Lord  Chancellor  not  to  think  very  seriously  of 
this  boyish  and  silly  but  entirely  unjustifiable  publica- 
tion of  Queen  Mob.  There  appeared  to  be  no  case  in 
which  the  Chancellor  had  exercised  his  right  of  taking 
the  children  from  the  care  of  their  father  solely  on 
account  of  his  religious  opinions,  and  as  Shelley  had 
married  Miss  Godwin,  the  objection  of  his  connection 
with  her  was  at  an  end.  No  danger  at  present  could 
be  apprehended  as  to  the  effects  of  the  father's  re- 
ligious opinions.  Shelley  was  tenant  in  tail  to  the 
Shelley  estates  to  the  value  probably  of  £8000,  besides 
having  not  very  remote  prospects  of  a  still  larger 

Shelley  in  England 

inheritance.  If  the  children  were  taken  from  his  care  it 
might  effect  an  estrangement  of  all  parental  affection  on 
the  one  hand  and  filial  piety  on  the  other,  and  it  was 
"  feared  that  he  might  be  led  to  look  on  the  children 
which  he  might  have  by  his  present  wife  (one  of  whom 
was  born  during  the  life  of  the  late  Mrs.  Shelley)  as 
the  sole  objects  of  his  affection,  as  well  as  of  his  pecuni- 
ary consideration."  It  was  presumed  that  the  peti- 
tion of  the  Westbrooks  for  the  custody  of  the  children 
would  not  be  granted,  as  Mr.  Westbrook  formerly 
kept  a  coffee-house.  There  were  even  greater  objec- 
tions to  Miss  Westbrook,  who  was  described  as 
"  illiterate  and  vulgar,"  and  it  was  by  her  "  advice  and 
active  concurrence,  and  it  may  be  said  by  her  manage- 
ment, that  Mr.  Shelley  when  at  the  age  of  nineteen 
ran  away  with  Miss  Westbrook,  then  of  the  age  of 
seventeen,  and  married  her  in  Scotland.  Miss  West- 
brook  was  then  nearly  thirty,  and  if  she  had  acted  as 
she  ought  to  have  done  as  the  guardian  and  friend  of 
her  younger  sister,  all  this  misery  and  disgrace  to  both 
families  would  have  been  avoided." 

The  case  was  heard  on  Friday,  January  24,  1817, 
before  Lord  Chancellor  Eldon,  who  declared  that  he 
would  give  his  decision  on  another  day.  Subsequently 
an  application  was  made  to  him  to  deliver  his  judg- 
ment in  his  private  room,  and  this  he  arranged  to  do. 

While  the  decision  was  still  in  the  balance,  Shelley 



wrote  to  Mary,  on  January  3Oth,  in  a  depressed  mood  : 
"  I  have  little  doubt  in  my  own  mind  but  that  they 
will  succeed  in  the  criminal  part  of  the  business — I 
mean  that  some  such  punishment  as  imprisonment 
and  fine  will  be  awarded  me  by  a  jury." 

The  Chancellor  gave  his  judgment  in  writing  on 
March  17,  1817.  He  stated  that  there  was  nothing 
in  evidence  before  him  to  authorise  him  in  thinking 
that  Shelley  had  changed  before  he  arrived  at  the  age 
of  twenty-five  the  principles  he  avowed  at  nineteen, 
that  he  thought  there  was  ample  evidence  in  the  papers 
and  the  conduct  that  no  such  change  had  taken  place. 
That  this  was  a  case  in  which,  as  the  matter  appeared 
to  him,  the  father's  principles  could  not  be  misunder- 
stood, in  which  his  conduct,  which  he  (the  Chancellor) 
could  not  but  consider  as  highly  immoral,  had  been 
established  in  proof,  and  established  as  the  effect  of 
those  principles  ;  conduct  nevertheless  which  he  repre- 
sented to  himself  and  others,  not  as  conduct  to  be 
considered  as  immoral,  but  to  be  recommended  and 
observed  in  practice  and  as  worthy  of  approbation. 
He  considered  it,  therefore,  as  a  case  in  which  the 
father  had  demonstrated  that  he  must  and  did  deem 
it  to  be  a  matter  of  duty  which  his  duties  imposed 
upon  him,  to  recommend  to  those  whose  opinions  and 
habits  he  might  take  upon  himself  to  form,  that  con- 
duct in  some  of  the  most  important  relations  of  life 


Shelley  in  England 

as  moral  and  virtuous,  which  the  law  called  upon  him 
(the  Chancellor)  to  consider  as  immoral  and  vicious — 
conduct  which  the  law  animadverted  upon  as  incon- 
sistent with  the  duties  of  persons  in  such  relations  of 
life,  and  which  it  considered  as  injuriously  affecting 
both  the  interests  of  such  persons  and  those  of  the 

That  he  could  not  therefore  think  that  he  would  be 
justified  in  delivering  over  the  children  for  their  educa- 
tion exclusively  to  what  was  called  the  care  to  which 
Mr.  Shelley  wished  it  to  be  intrusted.  That  much  had 
been  said  upon  the  fact  that  the  children  were  of  tender 
years.  That  in  what  degree  and  to  what  extent  the 
Court  would  interfere  in  that  case  against  parental 
authority  could  not  be  finally  determined  till  after 
the  Master's  report.  That  in  the  meantime  he  re- 
strained the  father  and  his  agents  from  taking  posses- 
sion of  the  persons  of  the  infants  or  intermeddling 
with  them  till  further  order,  and  he  referred  it  to  the 
Master  to  inquire  what  would  be  a  proper  plan  for  the 
maintenance  and  education  of  the  infants  and  also 
to  inquire  with  whom  and  whose  care  the  infants 
should  remain  during  their  minority  or  until  further 

Shelley  had  lost  his  case,  and  it  now  remained  for 
him  and  for  the  Westbrooks  to  nominate  guardians 
for  the  care  and  education  of  the  children. 



On  August  1st  the  following  proposals  were  laid 
before  the  Master  in  Chancery  with  regard  to  their  edu- 
cation and  for  the  appointment  of  a  proper  person 
under  whose  care  they  should  be  placed.  Shelley,  as 
defendant,  nominated  his  solicitor,  P.  W.  Longdill,  and 
his  wife  for  that  position,  and  the  plaintiffs  proposed 
that  the  children  should  be  placed  in  the  family  of  the 
Rev.  John  Kendall,  who  was  the  Master  of  Lord  Ley- 
cester's  Hospital  at  Warwick,  and  Vicar  of  Budbroke. 
The  children,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  at  the  time  of  Harriet 
Shelley's  death  were  under  the  care  of  this  Mr.  Kendall. 
The  Master  certified  that,  as  the  children  "  would 
have  a  better  chance  of  receiving  such  an  education 
as  would  contribute  to  their  future  welfare  and  happi- 
ness in  Mr.  Kendall's  family  than  if  they  were  brought 
up  according  to  the  proposal  under  the  directions  of 
their  father,  he  approved  the  proposal  laid  before  him 
on  behalf  of  the  plaintiffs." 

Mary  Shelley,  in  writing  to  Mrs.  Leigh  Hunt  on 
August  i6th,  says :  "  Our  sensations  of  indignation 
have  been  a  little  excited  this  morning  by  the  decision 
of  the  Master  of  Chancery.  He  says  the  children  are 
to  go  to  this  old  clergyman  in  Warwickshire,  who  is 
to  stand  instead  of  a  parent.  An  old  fellow  whom 
no  one  knows  and  [who]  never  saw  the  children.  This 
is  somewhat  beyond  credibility  did  we  not  see  it  in 
black  and  white.  Longdill  is  very  angry  that  his 


Shelley  in   England 

proposition  is  rejected,  and  means  to  appeal  from 
the  Master  to  the  Lord  Chancellor."  Apparently 
Longdill  made  an  appeal,  for  if  he  did  not  himself 
secure  the  custody  of  the  children,  it  was  decided 
that  they  should  be  removed  from  the  care  of  Mr. 

Mr.  Whitton  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy,  on  November  24th, 
to  inform  him  that  the  Chancellor  had  refused  to 
appoint  either  Mr.  Longdill  or  Mr.  Kendall  as  guardian 
of  the  children.  The  question  of  the  custody  of  the 
children,  however,  was  not  settled  till  some  months 
later.  The  Master  in  his  report,  dated  April  28,  1818, 
stated  that  Mr.  Westbrook  had  named  the  Rev.  Jacob 
Cheesborough  of  Ulcombe,  Kent,  and  his  wife  as 
suitable  guardians,  but  the  Master  approved  of  the 
persons  nominated  by  Shelley,  namely  Thomas  Hume 
of  Brent  End  Lodge,  Hanwell,  Doctor  in  Medicine, 
and  Caroline  his  wife,  "  with  whom  and  under  whose 
care  the  infants  shall  remain  during  their  minorities 
or  until  further  Order  of  the  Court." 

Dr.  Hume  and  Mr.  Cheesborough  both  submitted 
proposals  and  plans  for  the  education  of  the  children 
to  the  Master,  who  gave  his  approval  to  Dr.  and  Mrs. 
Hume's  scheme.1  Dr.  Hume  proposed  that  the  boy, 
who  was  then  about  three,  should  at  the  age  of  seven 

1  The  following  are  the  chief  points  of  Dr.  Hume's  scheme  from  the 
Master's  Report. 



be  placed  at  a  good  school  to  be  instructed  in  the  rudi- 
ments of  the  classics,  in  ancient  and  modern  history, 
and  be  prepared  for  one  of  the  large  or  public  schools, 
whither  he  should  be  sent  at  a  proper  age,  if  circum- 
stances permitted,  to  one  of  the  universities.  But 
with  respect  to  placing  him  at  the  university,  or  by 
anticipation  pointing  out  any  particular  profession  or 
mode  of  life  for  the  child,  Dr.  Hume  considered  it 
would  be  premature.  In  the  choice  of  schools  Dr.  and 
Mrs.  Hume  would  prefer  one  under  the  superintendence 
of  an  orthodox  clergyman  of  the  Church  of  England, 
but  he  did  not  consider  the  circumstance  of  the  head- 
master being  a  clergyman  positively  essential  if  there 
were  other  points  of  high  recommendation  in  favour 
of  an  establishment. 

With  respect  to  the  girl,  then  of  the  age  of  about  five, 
it  was  suggested  that  she  should  be  educated  at  home 
under  the  immediate  eye  of  Mrs.  Hume,  who  would 
herself  instruct  her  in  history,  geography,  and  litera- 
ture in  general.  The  accomplishments  of  drawing, 
painting,  music,  singing,  and  dancing  should  receive 
all  the  attention  they  deserve,  when  the  child  dis- 
played a  capacity  of  receiving  the  necessary  instruc- 
tions ;  and  the  more  homely  employments  of  fancy 
work  and  sewing  should  not  be  neglected  ;  domestic 
economy  too  should  receive  its  share  of  attention.  In 
short,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume,  feeling  that  a  young  mind 


Shelley  in  England 

must  be  continually  occupied,  Would  endeavour  to 
keep  it  occupied  by  those  things  which  in  some  way  or 
other  lead  to  its  improvement  or  to  general  usefulness. 
Upon  the  score  of  dress  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  would,  if 
necessary,  be  very  positive  on  the  absolute  necessity 
of  resisting  and  disregarding  the  fashions  of  the  day, 
if  they  included,  as  they  do  in  their  opinion  at  the 
present  day,  an  apparent  abandonment  of  all  feelings 
of  feminine  delicacy  and  decency.  Habitual  neatness 
of  dress  they  would  require  on  the  most  private  occa- 
sions, and  an  habitual  decency  of  dress  on  all  occasions. 
As  to  the  general  reading  of  the  girl  at  a  more  advanced 
age,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  would,  as  far  as  their  influ- 
ence extended,  keep  from  her  perusal  all  books  that 
tended  to  shake  her  faith  in  any  of  the  great  points 
of  the  established  religion.  They  would  discounte- 
nance the  reading  of  novels,  except,  perhaps,  some  few 
unexceptionable  books  of  that  sort.  They  would  to  a 
certain  degree  encourage  the  reading,  and  indeed  the 
studying  of  some  of  our  best  poets,  but  with  respect  to 
Pope  and  some  others  Dr.  Hume  would  take  care  that 
she  was  furnished  with  selections  only.  Of  Shake- 
speare Dr.  Hume  understands  an  edition  purified  from 
its  grossness  has  been  published,  and  this  edition  he 
would  put  into  her  hand.  He  believes  that  an  edition 
of  Hume's  History  of  England  has  lately  been  published 
in  which  his  insidious  attacks  on  religion  are  omitted, 



and  with  this  edition  Dr.  Hume  would  take  care  she 
was  provided. 

To  the  morals  of  the  children  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume 
would  pay  particular  attention,  and  would  make 
instruction  and  discipline  go  hand  in  hand.  They 
would  endeavour  strongly  to  impress  on  the  children 
notions  of  modesty  and  self-diffidence,  and  to  repress 
every  feeling  of  vanity  and  self-sufficiency.  They 
would  endeavour  to  inculcate  in  them  high  notions 
of  the  value  of  a  character  for  truth  and  personal 
honour,  and  a  thorough  detestation  of  affectation, 
deceitfulness,  and  falsehood.  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume 
conceived  it  was  the  duty  of  a  parent  and  guardian, 
among  other  things,  in  not  countenancing — and,  indeed, 
in  not  tolerating — any  irreverent  allusions  in  matters 
of  religion.  On  the  subject  of  religion  they  would 
bring  up  the  children  in  the  faith  and  tenets  of  the 
Church  of  England  ;  they  would  deem  it  an  imperative 
duty  to  inculcate  on  them  solemn,  serious,  and  orthodox 
notions  of  religion,  but  at  the  same  time  they  would 
be  cautious  not  prematurely  to  lead  their  unripe  minds 
to  that  momentous  subject.  To  a  morning  and  even- 
ing prayer  and  thanksgiving,  and  to  grace  before  and 
after  meals,  they  would  regularly  accustom  the  chil- 
dren, and  would  take  occasion  to  inculcate  on  them 
general  religious  feeling  without  bringing  to  their 
notice  controversial  points  that  might  excite  doubts 


Shelley  in  England 

which  they  would  be  unable  to  solve.  What  is  clearly 
revealed  they  would  teach  them  fervently  to  embrace. 
A  regular  attendance  at  Divine  Service  on  Sundays 
Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  would  (when  the  children  arrive 
at  a  proper  age)  consider  an  indispensable  duty. 

With  respect  to  the  intercourse  to  be  permitted 
between  Mr.  Shelley  and  his  children,  the  Lord  Chan- 
cellor having  intimated  that  he  should  suspend  his 
judgment  as  to  how  far  and  in  what  degree  he  would 
in  this  case  interfere,  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  would  feel 
it  their  bounden  duty  implicitly  to  obey  the  order 
and  directions  of  the  Lord  Chancellor  with  respect 
to  the  intercourse  and  interference  of  Mr.  Shelley 
with  the  children,  whatever  that  order  and  these 
directions  might  be. 

It  is  not  surprising  that  such  a  rule  of  perfection 
should  have  proved  irresistible  to  the  Master  in 
Chancery.  But  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Hume  were  evidently 
so  conscious  of  the  responsibility  that  they  were  pre- 
pared to  undertake,  or  so  very  eager  to  obtain  the 
guardianship  of  the  children,  that  they  carefully  left 
no  point  in  their  education  unconsidered.  Their 
scheme  embraced  much  that  was  calculated  to  turn 
out  a  couple  of  young  prigs.  It  would  be  interesting 
to  know  what  Shelley  thought  of  this  plan,  if  he 
ever  saw  it,  for  the  education  and  upbringing  of 
his  children.  Fortunately  this  worthy  couple  were 


not  given  many  years  to  apply  to  the  children  their 

The  children  remained  with  Dr.  Hume  until  they 
were  removed  from  his  care  by  an  order  of  the  Court 
of  Chancery  dated  January  22,  1822,  and  placed  in 
the  custody  of  the  Rev.  James  Williams  and  Elizabeth 
his  wife,  of  Chelsfield,  near  Foots  Cray,  in  Kent. 
Their  nomination  was  made  on  the  recommendation 
of  the  Westbrooks,  whose  solicitors,  Messrs.  Dease, 
Dendy  &  Morphett,  wrote  on  January  2,  1822,  to 
Mr.  Whitton  saying  that  Sir  John  Lubbock  and  Mr. 
Alderman  Atkins  had  seats  in  Mr.  Williams'  neigh- 
bourhood, and  were  well  acquainted  with  him.  Sir 
Timothy  approved  of  "  the  situation  at  Chelsfield  for 
the  Poor  Little  Innocents  under  so  respectable  recom- 
mendations as  well  as  the  sacred  obligation  Sir  J.  W. 
Lubbock  and  Mr.  Richard  Williams  offer  from  the 
usage  of  the  Court  of  Chancery."  x 

With  the  death  of  Shelley,  his  allowance  for  the 
maintenance  of  the  children  ceased.  Mr.  John  A. 
Powell,  the  solicitor  for  Shelley's  executors,  furnished 
Mr.  Whitton,  on  November  15,  1822,  with  copies  of 
certificates  to  prove  the  poet's  marriage  with  Harriet 
Westbrook  in  Scotland  and  London,  and  the  birth  of 
their  son,  and  he  added  that  he  presumed  the  sum 
usually  allowed  for  the  children's  maintenance  and 

1  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  to  William  Whitton,  Feb.  3,  1822. 

Shelley  in  England 

education  had  been  stopped  until  the  legitimacy  of 
the  son  had  been  proved.  Whitton  wrote  to  Powell, 
on  March  10,  1823,  stating  that  Sir  Timothy  agreed  to 
pay  the  next  quarterly  allowance,  but  that  he  declined 
to  give  any  pledge  or  assurance  that  he  would  continue 
his  payments  for  the  children,  as  any  such  payment 
might  be  unnecessary  if  the  legacies  given  to  the 
children  by  their  father  should  be  raised  for  their 

The  difficulty  of  providing  for  the  children  was 
surmounted  by  an  order  of  the  Court  of  Chancery 
(dated  July  21,  1823)  appointing  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 
guardian  of  his  grandson  Charles  Bysshe  Shelley,  and 
Mr.  Westbrook  and  his  daughter,  Mrs.  Farthing  Beau- 
champ  (formerly  Eliza  Westbrook),  guardians  of  Eliza 
lanthe  Shelley. 

Sir  Timothy  put  little  Charles  to  school  with  the  Rev. 
Alexander  Greenlaw,  D.C.L.,1  of  Zion  House  Academy, 
Brentford,  where  Shelley  received  his  first  schooling. 
Mr.  Wnitton  wrote  from  his  office  to  Sir  Timothy  about 
the  boy  on  August  8,  1823  :  "  Charles  is  well  engaged 
at  a  Mutton  Chop  in  my  front  room.  Mr.  Williams  [his 
custodian]  brought  him  here  this  morning  and  I  paid 
him  £50  for  his  quarter  and  half  quarter  and  for  his 

1  In  Foster's  Alumni  Oxonienses  he  is  described  as  "  Rev.  Alexander 
Greenlaw,  son  of  John,  of  Elgin,  co.  Moray,  Scot.  Gent.,  St.  Alban  Hall. 
Matric.  8  July  1790,  aged  25;  B.A.,  1796;  M.A.,  1801  ;  B.C.L.  and 
D.C.L.,  1804  ;  died  at  Blackheath,  1829." 



Journey.  I  intend  to  take  him  home  with  me  in  the 
afternoon,  and  put  him  into  the  hands  of  Mrs.  Whitton 
so  that  he  may  be  properly  clothed  and  all  necessary 
articles  be  prepared  for  his  going  to  school  on  Monday." 
Charles,  however,  was  unwell  and  the  Whittons  de- 
tained him  for  a  few  days,  when  Mrs.  Whitton  took 
him  to  school  herself  and  saw  Dr.  Greenlaw,  who  pro- 
mised to  give  him  his  particular  attention.  When 
Whitton's  daughter  saw  the  boy  some  days  later  he 
told  her  that  he  was  "  happy."  It  is  to  be  hoped  that 
Charles  had  a  better  time  at  the  school  than  his  father, 
for  he  was  a  delicate  child.  There  is  a  reference  to  him 
in  a  letter  of  Whitton's  to  Sir  Timothy  on  October  27, 
1823,  in  which  he  says  that  his  wife  had  brought  Charles 
to  Stockwell  on  Saturday,  that  "  he  returned  this 
morning/'  apparently  to  school,  and  he  had  a  bad  cold. 
Three  years  later,  in  June  1826,  we  read  in  Whitton's 
correspondence  that  the  boy  was  lying  ill  at  Field  Place 
and  was  being  looked  after  by  his  grandmother  and 
aunts,  and  that  a  physician  had  been  called  in.  As  a 
matter  of  fact,  the  child  was  suffering  from  consump- 
tion. Whitton  wrote  to  Peacock  about  the  boy's  health 
and  enclosed  a  doctor's  report ;  he  does  not  mention  the 
nature  of  his  complaint,  but  its  gravity  was  apparent, 
as  he  says  he  fears  it  puts  a  complete  negative  to  Mrs. 
Shelley's  hope  of  raising  an  annuity  "  upon  her  ex- 
pectant interest  in  the  Estates  incumbered  as  they  have 

513  2  K 

Shelley  in   England 

been."  The  condition  of  the  boy  grew  rapidly  worse  : 
his  grandfather,  who  was  undoubtedly  fond  of  him, 
wrote  on  September  nth  from  Field  Place  to  Whitton  : 
"  Last  evening  the  medical  attendant  doubted  if  poor 
little  Charles  could  survive  an  hour,  but  not  all  night : 
with  attention  and  care  he  still  exists,  it  cannot  be 
for  long,  nor  does  he  suffer  by  pain,  and  the  great  con- 
solation was,  he  talked  of  getting  downstairs  and  be 
better.  The  next  time  I  write  in  all  human  probability 
that  he  is  called  to  another,  and,  I  trust,  a  better  world." 
On  September  I4th,  Whitton  wrote  to  Peacock  to  say 
that  he  had  just  received  a  letter  from  Sir  Timothy 
with  the  news  of  "  the  death  of  poor  dear  little  Charles 
without  a  struggle.  Will  you  please  to  acquaint  Mrs. 
Shelley  of  this  event."  Mr.  Westbrook  was  also  in- 
formed of  the  fact  through  his  solicitor. 

In  the  Register  at  Warnham,  Sussex,  is  the  following 
entry  among  the  burials  : 

1826.  Sep.   16.  Charles  Bysshe,   son  of  late  Percy 
Bysshe  and  Harriet  Shelley  age  n  years. 


From  this  it  appears  that  the  boy  was  buried  by 
Mr.  Edwards,  who  had  taught  his  father  the  elements 
of  Latin  in  1798. 

Mrs.  Beauchamp  proved  a  kind  guardian  to  her 
niece  lanthe,  who  married,  on  September  27,  1837, 



Mr.  Edward  Jeffries  Esdaile,  by  whom  she  had  two 
sons,  Charles  and  William.  The  latter  became  a 
clergyman,  and  died  in  1915 ;  he  recalled  with 
gratitude  in  later  years  his  early  impressions  of  Mrs. 
Beauchamp  and  her  kindness  to  his  mother.  He 
remembered  her  "as  a  handsome,  grand  old  lady, 
with  dark  front  of  hair,  piercing  dark  eyes,  and  with 
a  kind  manner  to  children,  but  of  whom  we  were 
somewhat  afraid.  Her  carriage,  old-fashioned  large 
chariot,  spot  dog,  large  horses,  man-servant,  lady- 
companion,  formed  a  whole  which  made  a  deep  im- 
pression on  my  childish  memory."  1 

The  name  of  Eliza  Westbrook's  husband  was  origin- 
ally Farthing,  and  he  was  a  clerk  in  a  London  bank, 
when  an  old  lady  named  Beauchamp  fell  in  love  with 
him  and  left  him  all  her  property,  on  condition  that 
he  should  change  his  name  to  Beauchamp.2 

Mrs.  Beauchamp  subsequently  inherited  the  property 
of  her  father,  John  Westbrook,  who  died  in  1835  at 
Walford  House,  Mr.  Beauchamp 's  residence.  In  his 
will  (proved  May  22,  1835,  by  Robert  Farthing  Beau- 
champ  and  John  Squire,  the  surviving  executors)  he 
is  described  merely  as  of  Chapel  Street,  Grosvenor 
Square,  but  in  the  Probate  Act  as  formerly  of  Mount 

1  These  reminiscences  of  the   Rev.  William   Esdaile  were  given  by 
Professor  Dowden  in  his  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  i.  p.  142. 

2  Dowden's  Life  of  Shelley,  vol.  i.  p.  142. 


Shelley  in   England 

Coffee-house,  Grosvenor  Square,  afterwards  of  Chapel 
Street,  Grosvenor  Square,  but  late  of  Walford  House, 
near  Taunton,  in  the  County  of  Somerset.  He 
bequeathed  the  whole  of  his  residuary  estate  to  his 
executors  upon  trust  for  his  daughter  and  only  sur- 
viving child  Elizabeth  for  life,  and  then  to  her  chil- 
dren. The  personal  estate  was  sworn  under  £60,000. l 

Mrs.  lanthe  Esdaile,  as  stated  on  an  earlier  page, 
died  in  June  1876. 

For  the  sake  of  continuity  we  have  followed  the 
fortunes  of  Shelley's  children  by  Harriet,  but  we  will 
now  return  to  his  doings  at  the  beginning  of  the  year 
1817.  On  February  I4th  he  took  a  place,  afterwards 
known  as  Albion  House,  in  West  Street,  Great  Marlow, 
from  the  preceding  December  2ist,  on  a  lease  for  twenty- 
one  years.  The  house,  or  houses,  of  which  there  were 

1  John  Westbrook  is  described  as  of  the  Parish  of  St.  Mary,  Lambeth, 
vintner,  in  the  Bond  into  which  he  entered  on  July  15,  1780,  with  the 
Bishop  of  London,  for  his  marriage  with  Ann  Elliott  of  the  Parish  of 
St.  George,  Hanover  Square,  Spinster.  In  the  allegation  bearing  the 
same  date  as  above,  Westbrook  is  described  as  a  bachelor  aged  twenty-nine 
years,  and  Miss  Elliott  as  twenty-three.  The  marriage  was  solemnized 
on  July  20,  1780.  The  Mount  Coffee-house  where  Westbrook  made  his 
money  was  at  No.  78  Lower  Grosvenor  Street,  a  few  doors  from  New 
Bond  Street.  The  house,  which  still  appears  to  be  the  old  building,  has 
been  renumbered  80.  It  is  now  a  private  residence  in  the  occupation  of 
Dr.  Cowper.  Peter  Cunningham  tells  us  that  there  was  a  famous  coffee- 
house in  Mount  Street  known  as  The  Mount,  frequented  by  Laurence 
Sterne  during  the  latter  years  of  his  life,  while  he  was  occupying  lodgings 
at  41  Old  Bond  Street,  where  he  died  on  March  18,  1768.  Sterne 
addressed  many  of  his  letters  from  this  coffee-house.  The  site  of  No.  23 
Chapel  Street  is  now  occupied  by  part  of  No.  2  Aldford  Street. 



three  adjoining  each  other,  had  lately  been  in  the 
occupation  of  the  governor  and  members  of  the  Royal 
Military  College,  and  was  the  property  of  Mr.  Jeffrey 
Tylecote  of  Burton-on-Trent.  Besides  these  three 
houses,  with  the  gardens  belonging  to  them,  Shelley 
had  also  taken  a  lease  of  a  meadow  of  four  acres  ad- 
joining. The  north  side  of  this  meadow  was  bounded 
by  land  in  the  occupation  of  Rachel  Hamilton,  on  the 
south  by  West  Street,  and  on  the  east  by  Oxford  Lane. 
Shelley  remained  in  the  house  for  about  a  year,  and 
transferred  the  lease,  on  February  14,  1818,  to  a  Mr. 
William  Carter  of  Hackney.1 

Shelley  and  Mary  spent  much  of  their  time  during 
the  first  three  weeks  of  February  1817  with  the  Hunts 
at  Hampstead,  and  were  introduced  to  their  interest- 
ing circle  of  acquaintances  and  friends.  Mary's  diary 
tells  of  Leigh  Hunt's  musical  evenings ;  it  mentions 
Keats,  who  came  in  several  times ;  and  it  records  the 
occasion  on  which  he  brought  John  Hamilton  Rey- 
nolds to  tea,  so  that  the  three  "  Young  Poets " 
whose  work  had  formed  the  subject  of  Hunt's  recent 
article  in  the  Examiner  met  together  in  the  flesh. 
Keats,  who  was  inclined  to  suspect  those  of  gentler 
blood  than  himself,  did  not  take  to  Shelley,  and 

1  This  information  is  derived  from  the  deed  of  release  which  is  in  the 
possession  of  the  author.  The  premises  are  not  referred  to  as  Albion 
House  in  the  deed. 


Shelley  in   England 

Shelley  did  not  like  Reynolds.  Hazlitt  was  also  a 
visitor  of  the  Hunts,  but  Shelley's  manner  and  voice 
made  a  bad  impression  on  the  essayist.1  It  was  not 
so,  however,  with  Horace  Smith,  whose 

"  Wit  and  sense, 

Virtue  and  human  knowledge ;  all  that  might 
Make  this  dull  world  a  business  of  delight," 

enabled  him  to  thoroughly  appreciate  Shelley. 

On  Sunday,  February  23rd,  Shelley,  Mary,  William, 
and  Clare  went  to  Marlow.  In  the  course  of  the 
following  week  they  entered  their  new  house,  where 
Godwin  paid  them  an  early  visit  and  stayed  a  night 
or  two.  Hunt  then  came  down  with  his  wife,  and 
she  prolonged  her  stay  for  a  few  weeks. 

During  the  early  days  at  Marlow,  Mary  busied  her- 
self with  getting  the  house  in  order  and  with  correcting 

1  Hazlitt  in  his  essay  "  On  Paradox  and  Commonplace,"  published 
in  Table  Talk,  1821,  said:  "The  author  of  'Prometheus  Unbound'  .  .  . 
has  a  fire  in  his  eye,  a  fever  in  his  blood,  a  maggot  in  his  brain,  a  hectic 
flutter  in  his  speech,  which  mark  out  the  philosophic  fanatic.  He  is 
sanguine-complexioned,  and  shrill-voiced."  After  Shelley's  death,  in 
reviewing  the  Posthumous  Poems  in  the  Edinburgh  Review  for  July  1824, 
he  gave  a  not  unpleasing  picture  of  the  poet.  He  said  :  "  Mr.  Shelley  was 
a  remarkable  man.  His  person  was  a  type  and  shadow  of  his  genius. 
His  complexion  fair,  golden,  freckled,  seemed  transparent  with  an  inward 
light,  and  his  spirit  within  him— 

'  So  divinely  wrought, 
That  you  might  almost  say  his  body  thought.' 

He  reminded  those  who  saw  him  of  some  of  Ovid's  fables.  His  form, 
graceful  and  slender,  drooped  like  a  flower  in  the  breeze.  But  he  was 
crushed  beneath  the  weight  of  thought  which  he  aspired  to  bear,  and  was 
withered  in  the  lightning-glare  of  a  ruthless  philosophy  !" 



the  proofs  of  her  novel,  Frankenstein,  the  publication 
of  which  was  offered  to  John  Murray  and  to  Oilier 
and  refused  by  both  of  them.  It  was  subsequently 
issued  by  Lackington,  probably  in  January  1818. 
While  the  book  was  on  offer  to  Lackington,  Mary  gave 
birth,  on  September  2nd,  at  Marlow,  to  a  girl,  who  was 
named  Clara  Everina,  after  Clare  Clairmont  and  her 
great-aunt  Everina  Wollstonecraft. 

Shelley's  summer  task  was  the  composition  of  his 
poem  Laon  and  Cythna,1  a  task  to  which  he  addressed 
himself,  as  he  tells  us  in  the  preface,  "  with  unremit- 
ting ardour  and  enthusiasm."  The  manuscript  was 
completed  by  the  end  of  September.  The  poem  was 
dedicated  to  Mary  in  lines  breathing  love  and  fervour, 
lines  in  which  he  recalled  the  storm  and  stress  of  his 
youth  and  voiced  his  hope  and  fears  of  the  future. 
The  dedication  concludes  with  these  memorable  lines : 

"  If  there  must  be  no  response  to  my  cry — 
If  men  must  rise  and  stamp  with  fury  blind 

On  his  pure  name  who  loves  them, — thou  and  I, 
Sweet  friend  !  can  look  from  our  tranquillity 
Like  lamps  into  the  world's  tempestuous  night, — 
Two  tranquil  stars,  while  clouds  are  passing  by 
Which  wrap  them  from  the  foundering  seaman's  sight, 
That  burn  from  year  to  year  with  unextinguished  light." 

One  rejected  fragment  of  this  dedication  is  preserved 
among   the   portions   of   the   original   manuscript   at 

1  After  a  few  copies  were  issued  under  this  title,  the  poem  underwent 
several  alterations  which  were  made  by  the  insertion  of  cancelled  leaves, 
and  it  was  subsequently  published  as  The  Revolt  of  Islam. 


Shelley   in   England 

Avington,  Hants.  Shelley  has  decorated  it  with  a 
pretty  drawing  of  trees,  such  as  he  sometimes  sketched 
on  the  blank  leaves  of  his  manuscripts,  but  it  possesses 
a  stronger  personal  interest.  The  first  portion  of  the 
holograph  is  apparently  an  early  draft  of  stanza  xiii, 
but  the  lines  that  follow,  which  form  a  part  of  stanza 
vi,  contain  some  cancelled  lines  relating  undoubtedly 
to  Harriet  Grove : 

"  She  whom  I  found  was  dear  but  false  to  me," 
and  to  Harriet  Shelley : 

"  The  other's  heart  was  like  a  heart  of  stone 
Which  crushed  and  withered  mine." 

"A  voice  went  forth  from  that  mis[s]hapen  spirit 
Which  was  the  echo  of  three  thousand  years 
And  the  tumultuous  world  stood  mute  to  hear  it 
As  some  lone  man  who  on  a  sudden  hears 
The  music  of  his  [fatherland] x  home — unwonted  [awe]  fears 

Fell  on  the  pale  oppressors  of  our  race 

[And  the  free  lept  forth  in  joy] 

And  faith  and  custom  and  low-thoughted  cares 
[Fled  from  a  thousand  hearts  and  found  no 
[Of  songs  left  that  could  not  be] 

[Aught]  Like  thunder-stricken  dragons  for  a  space 
[Were  torn]  Left  the  deep  human  heart  which  is  their  .  .  . 
dwelling  place. 

Nor  ever  found  I  [found]  one  not  false  to  me 
[Hearts]  Hard  hearts  and  cold  like  weights  of  icy  stone 
That  crushed  and  withered  mine  [which  ne'er  could] 
[and]  She  whom  I  found  was  dear  but  false  to  me 
The  other's  heart  was  like  a  heart  of  stone 
Which  crushed  and  withered  mine." 

1  The  words  between  brackets  are  cancelled  in  the  MS. 


The  summer  days  seem  to  have  slipped  pleasantly 
away,  although  the  Shelleys  were  not  entirely  free 
from  worries.  Besides  Shelley's  health,  which  had 
suffered  and  given  Mary  cause  for  anxiety,  there  were 
Clare  Clairmont's  affairs  and  Godwin's  pecuniary 
difficulties.  Clare,  the  source  of  many  calumnies 
directed  against  Shelley,  was  a  pretty  brunette  full  of 
life,  who,  with  a  yearning  for  romance,  was  prepared  for 
any  adventure  that  would  lift  her  out  of  the  paralysing 
monotony  of  her  existence  with  the  Godwin  household 
at  Skinner  Street.  After  her  return  from  her  first 
visit  to  the  Continent  with  Shelley  and  Mary  she  had 
called  on  Byron,  who  was  connected  with  Drury  Lane 
Theatre,  to  ask  him  for  an  introduction  to  the  stage. 
She  did  not  become  an  actress,  but  she  met  Byron 
again  when  she  visited  Geneva  with  the  Shelleys  in 
1816,  and  she  had  an  intrigue  with  him  there.  It  is 
doubtful  whether  the  Shelleys  were  ignorant  of  this 
intrigue,  but  Clare  remained  with  them  when  they 
came  back  to  England,  and  in  January  1817  she  gave 
birth  at  Bath  to  a  daughter,  subsequently  named 
Allegra.  The  Shelleys  continued  to  look  after  Clare 
and  the  child  at  Marlow,  but  the  position  was  a  painful 
one  for  Mary,  owing  to  the  difficulty  of  accounting  to 
the  neighbours  for  Allegra's  parentage.  Byron,  the 
reputed  father  of  the  child,  refused  to  correspond  with 
her  mother,  and  it  fell  to  Shelley's  lot  to  write  to  him, 

Shelley  in   England 

So  far  from  disowning  Allegra,  Byron  seems  to  have 
been  interested  in  the  welfare  of  the  child,  but  he 
behaved  in  a  thoroughly  callous  manner  towards 
Clare.  When  Shelley,  Mary,  and  their  children  left 
England  for  the  last  time  in  1818,  Clare  and  Allegra 
went  with  them. 

Shelley,  as  we  have  seen,  received  a  considerable 
sum  of  money  from  his  father,  but  this  sum  was  in- 
sufficient to  discharge  his  debts.  These  are  said  to 
have  been  partly  debts  incurred  in  his  name  by  Harriet, 
but  they  consisted  undoubtedly  to  a  far  greater  extent 
of  certain  obligations  that  he  had  undertaken,  with 
want  of  forethought,  on  behalf  of  Godwin.  Godwin 
was  so  hopelessly  involved  that  any  endeavour  to 
extricate  him  from  his  debts  was  a  hopeless  task. 
It  was  as  hopeless  as  attempting  to  rescue  a  man  in 
the  toils  of  an  octopus  by  trying  to  hack  off  its  tentacles 
with  a  penknife.  Shelley's  correspondence  with  God- 
win continued  to  be  concerned  with  money  matters, 
.but  it  is  not  proposed  to  follow  it  here.  It  is  suffi- 
cient to  say  that  Shelley's  affairs  were  again  involved. 
Among  his  creditors  was  Captain  Pilfold,  who  had 
evidently  failed  to  obtain  payment  of  a  debt  due  to 
him  from  his  nephew,  and  who  had  applied  to  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley  for  it.  The  nature  of  the  obligation 
does  not  appear,  but  it  may  have  been  that  the  Captain 



had  gone  surety  for  Shelley,  who  was  unable  to  meet 
the  debt.  Whitton  wrote  to  Captain  Pilfold  at  Nelson 
Hall,  near  Cuckfield,  Sussex,  on  March  I2th,  saying 
that  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  had  found  it  necessary  to 
refer  to  him  regarding  Mr.  B.  Shelley's  concerns,  and 
declined  to  interfere  in  them,  and  he  informed  him  that 
Bysshe's  solicitors  were  Messrs.  Longdill  &  Butterfield 
of  Gray's  Inn.  The  next  mention  of  this  affair  is  to 
be  found  in  Mary's  letter  of  October  i6th  from  Marlow 
to  Shelley,  who  was  at  London,  in  which  she  writes : 
"  You  say  nothing  of  the  late  arrest,  and  what  may  be 
the  consequences,  and  may  they  not  detain  you  ?  and 
may  you  not  be  detained  many  months,  for  Godwin 
must  not  be  left  unprovided  ?  All  these  things  make 
me  run  over  the  months,  and  know  not  where  to  put 
my  finger  and  say — during  this  year  your  Italian 
journey  may  commence."  l  Professor  Dowden's  com- 
ment on  this  passage  that  "  Mary  Shelley's  fears  of 
an  arrest  were  not  realised,"  however,  was  not  correct. 
It  would  appear  that  not  only  was  Shelley  arrested 
before  October  i6th,  the  date  of  her  letter,  but  that 
Mary  seems  to  have  feared  that  he  was  in  danger 
of  being  arrested  again,  and  cautioned  him  of  the 
danger  of  returning  to  Marlow.  She  wrote,  on 

1  Shelley  had  gone  to  town  on  September  23rd  to  consult  Mr.  William 
Lawrence,  a  pupil  of  Abernethy,  with  regard  to  his  health.  The  physician 
recommended  change  of  air  and  scene,  and  Shelley  was  inclined  towards 
spending  the  winter  in  Italy. 


Shelley   in   England 

October  i8th  :  "  Mr.  Wright  has  called  here  to-day, 
my  dearest  Shelley,  and  wished  to  see  you.  I 
can  hardly  have  any  doubt  that  his  business  is  of 
the  same  nature  as  that  which  made  him  call  last 
week.  You  will  judge,  but  it  appears  to  me  that 
an  arrest  on  Monday  will  follow  your  arrival  on 
Sunday.  My  love,  you  ought  not  to  come  down.  A 
long  long  week  has  passed,  and  when  at  length  I  am 
allowed  to  expect  you,  I  am  obliged  to  tell  you  not 
to  come." 

There  is  evidence  of  Shelley's  arrest,  at  the  instance 
of  his  uncle,  Captain  Pilfold,  in  Mr.  Whitton's  minute- 
book,  where  the  following  entry  appears  under  the 
date  of  October  22nd  :  "  Attended  Mr.  Longdill  on  the 
arrest  of  Mr.  Bysshe  Shelley  to  Captain  Pilfold  and 
another  creditor  and  the  necessity  of  him  raising  money 
and  his  hope  that  Sii  Timy  would  prevent  the  neces- 
sity of  his  selling  his  reversion."  On  the  same  day 
Whitton  gave  some  further  particulars  of  the  arrest 
in  a  letter  to  Sir  Timothy,  in  which  he  said  that  he 
had  received  "  a  visit  some  weeks  since  from  Mr. 
Longdill  stating  that  a  Mr.  Gordon  of  Brighton  had 
offered  Mr.  Shelley  to  purchase  the  Reversion  of  the 
farm  in  Shipley  at  £3000,  that  Mr.  Shelley  had  debts  to 
satisfy,  and  that  unless  he  could  borrow  some  money 
he  must  sell.  I  did  not  trouble  you,"  Whitton  con- 
tinued, "  with  a  communication  in  writing,  but  I  told 



Mr.  Longdill  that  you  would  not  buy  and  I  believe 
would  not  lend.  He  has  just  called  on  me  again  and 
I  find  that  he  has  been  arrested  for  his  debt  and  by  a 
person  who  held  a  bill  which  he  accepted  for  a  friend 
and  that  his  debts  amount  to  about  £1500,  and  as  I 
suppose  to  a  much  larger  amount  for  he  and  such  like 
persons  seldom  estimate  on  more  debts  than  what 
they  are  pressed  for  the  payment  of.  I  mention  these 
circumstances  because  I  am  desired  to  do  so,  but  I 
am  far  from  thinking  it  right  that  I  should  recommend 
you  to  do  anything  for  his  relief,  or  to  involve  your- 
self with  his  debts.  As  he  will  sell  soon  should  you 
now  advance  what  he  wants,  I  do  not  see  that  you 
can  protect  him  against  himself  without  involving 
your  other  inoff  ending  children.  I  cannot  but 
think  he  should  be  left  to  find  his  own  means. 
If  however  you  think  otherwise  and  will  let  me 
know  your  wishes,  I  will  endeavour  to  execute  them. 
Your  past  exertions  to  support  him  and  prevent 
a  waste  of  his  property  must  be  your  consolation. 
I  understand  that  he  was  under  arrest  for  two 
days  by  Mr.  Pilfold,  and  that  it  has  been  most 
annoying  to  him  as  he  says  his  character  has  suffered 
from  it." 

The  date  of  Shelley's  arrest  is  not  mentioned.  If 
he  were  arrested  before  October  i6th,  as  Mary's  letter 
would  have  us  believe,  it  may  have  occurred  between 


Shelley  in  England 

September  30th,  when  he  went  to  town,  and  October 
loth,  when  he  returned  to  Marlow.  On  October  nth 
he  went  to  London,  and  he  came  to  Marlow  on  the 
following  day  with  Godwin,  and  left  for  town  with 
him  on  October  i6th. 

During  Shelley's  residence  at  Great  Marlow  he 
issued  two  pamphlets  under  the  pseudonym  of  "  The 
Hermit  of  Marlow."  The  first  of  these  brochures  was 
A  Proposal  for  Putting  Reform  to  the  Vote  throughout 
the  Kingdom.  Accepting  the  fact  that  the  people 
were  not  properly  represented  by  the  House  of  Com- 
mons, he  advocated,  as  a  remedy,  an  extension  of  the 
franchise  and  the  summoning  of  annual  parliaments, 
and  he  suggested  that  a  vote  of  the  inhabitants  of 
Great  Britain  and  Ireland  should  be  taken  to  ascertain 
if  they  desired  such  a  reform.  Towards  the  expenses 
of  obtaining  this  plebiscite  Shelley  was  willing  to 
contribute  a  sum  of  one  hundred  pounds,  or  a  tenth 
part  of  his  annual  income,  and  he  believed  that  others 
also  would  be  found  to  support  the  work.  He  did  not 
advocate  universal  suffrage,  as  he  considered  that  the 
public  were  unprepared  for  it  through  lack  of  educa- 
tion, but  he  thought  that  none  save  "  those  who 
register  their  names  as  paying  certain  sums  in  direct 
taxes  ought  to  send  members  to  Parliament." 

The  other  Marlow  pamphlet  was  entitled  An  Address 
to  the  People  on  the  Death  of  the  Princess  Charlotte. 



Here  he  contrasted  the  death  of  the  Princess  with  the 
execution  of  Brandath,  Turner,  and  Ludlam,  three 
operatives  who  had  been  convicted  of  taking  part  in 
the  so-called  Derbyshire  insurrection.  On  November 
7th,  the  day  after  the  Princess  died,  these  wretched 
men  were  drawn  on  hurdles  to  the  place  of  execution, 
where  they  were  hanged  and  decapitated  in  public. 
The  death  of  the  Princess,  as  heir  to  the  throne,  was 
generally  accepted  as  a  national  calamity,  whereas 
Shelley  pointed  out  the  real  calamity  was  the  state 
of  England  that  had  caused  these  uneducated  men  to 
commit  acts  of  violence  which,  though  he  deprecated 
them,  had  been  expiated  by  a  punishment  barbarous 
in  its  severity.  These  pamphlets  constituted  Shelley's 
final  public  utterances  on  politics,  and  they  probably 
both  had  a  limited  circulation,  that  of  the  last,  it 
is  said,  being  restricted  to  a  private  issue  of  twenty 

Early  in  October  1817  Shelley  and  Mary  had  deter- 
mined to  quit  Marlow,  and  their  chief  cause  for  this 
decision  was  that  his  health  had  suffered  during  their 
tenancy  :  the  house,  so  Mary  complained,  was  very 
damp,  and  the  books  in  the  library  were  mildewed. 
It  was  necessary,  however,  to  let  the  house  before 
they  could  arrange  to  leave  it,  and  this  Shelley  managed 
to  do,  according  to  Miss  Clairmont's  diary,  on  Janu- 
ary 25,  1818. 


Shelley  in   England 

He  appears  to  have  left  Marlow  for  London  on 
February  7th.  Clare  followed  with  William  and 
Allegra  on  the  8th,  and  Mary  departed  with  her  baby 
on  the  following  day. 

Before  he  quitted  Marlow  Shelley  raised  a  sum  of 
£2000  from  William  Willatts  of  Fore  Street,  Cripple- 
gate,  to  whom  he  undertook  to  pay,  within  three 
calendar  months  after  the  death  of  his  father,  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley,  a  sum  of  £4500. 

In  connection  with  this  transaction  Shelley  signed 
the  following  letter  :  * 

P.  B.  Shelley  to  William  Willats 

SIR, — You  having  lent  me  on  security  a  sum  of 
Money  and  Insured  my  Life  the  Policy  of  which  In- 
surance will  be  void  if  I  leave  England  without  giving 
you  notice  so  that  you  may  increase  your  insurance 
if  you  think  fit,  I  hereby  promise  you  not  to  leave 
England  without  giving  you  sufficient  previous  Notice 
for  that  purpose. 

I  am,  Sir, 

Your  Obedt.  Serv'., 


LONDON,  Jan.  31,  1818. 

Witness  :  Wm.  Richardson,  Clement's  Inn. 

George  Adams,  Fore  Street. 

Thos.  Dignam,  Clerk  to  Wm.  Richardson, 
Clement's  Inn. 

1  The  signature  and  date  only  of  this  letter  are  in  Shelley's  handwriting. 



On  arriving  in  London  the  Shelleys  went  to  lodgings 
at  Great  Russell  Street,  Covent  Garden,  the  street  in 
which  the  Lambs  were  then  living.  Their  days  were 
fully  occupied  with  leave-takings  and  with  preparations 
for  their  visit  to  Italy.  Although  Shelley  anticipated 
a  lengthy  sojourn  abroad,  he  hardly  realised  that  he 
was  taking  final  leave  of  England.  Mary  wrote  in 
her  diary,  on  March  gth,  "  Christening  the  children/' 
who  were  taken  to  St.  Giles  in  the  Fields,  where  the 
register  records  the  baptisms,  on  that  date,  of  William 
and  Clara  Everina,  children  of  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley, 
Esq.,  and  Mary  Wollstonecraft  his  wife,  of  Great 
Marlow,  co.  Bucks,  (late  of  Great  Russell  Street),  the 
first  born  January  24,  1816,  the  second  September  21, 
1817  ;  also  Clara  Allegra,  reputed  daughter  of  Rt. 
Hon.  George  Gordon,  Lord  Byron,  Peer,  of  no  fixed 
residence,  travelling  on  the  Continent,  by  Clara  Mary 
Jane  Clairmont,  born  January  17,  1817.  The  offi- 
ciating clergyman  was  Charles  Macarthy.  Shelley's 
last  days  in  London  were  spent  in  the  society  of  his 
friends  ;  he  saw  Hunt,  Hogg,  Peacock,  Horace  Smith, 
and  Keats.  Hogg,  who  dined  with  Shelley  in  London 
on  Sunday,  February  I5th,  probably  saw  him  for  the 
last  time  on  that  occasion.  On  the  eve  of  the  Shelleys' 
departure,  March  loth,  Mary  Lamb  called  to  say  good- 
bye, and  Peacock  supped  with  them,  after  attending 
the  first  performance  in  England  of  Rossini's  well- 

529  2L 

Shelley  in   England 

known  //  Barbiere  di  Siviglia  ;  Godwin,  Leigh  Hunt, 
and  his  wife  were  probably  also  of  the  party.  During 
the  evening  Shelley  was  overcome  by  one  of  his  pro- 
found slumbers,  and  the  Hunts,  unwilling  to  arouse 
him,  went  away  without  bidding  him  farewell. 



Shelley  leaves  England  —  Lyons  —  Allegra  —  Byron  and  Miss 
Clairmont — Shelley  at  Venice — Death  of  Clara — Rome — William 
Shelley's  death — Leghorn — Shelley's  annus  mirabilis — Birth  of 
Percy  Florence  Shelley — Miss  Stacey — The  Pisa  circle — The  arrival 
of  Leigh  Hunt — Shelley's  death  and  burial — His  heart — The  re- 
ception of  the  news  by  Sir  Timothy — Miss  Kitchener's  death — 
Gentleman's  Magazine  on  Shelley — Byron  and  Mary — Sir  Timothy's 
parsimony — Mary's  departure  from  Italy. 

SHELLEY  and  his  travelling  companions  left  London 
early  on  the  morning  of  March  nth,  and,  spending 
the  night  at  Dover,  they  crossed  to  Calais  on  the 
following  day.  Lyons  was  reached  on  Saturday, 
March  2ist,  where  Shelley  sent  Byron  a  letter  to  inform 
him  that  Allegra  had  arrived  thus  far  on  her  journey. 
Shelley  wrote  again  to  Byron  from  Milan  in  April 
inviting  him  to  come  and  take  charge  of  Allegra  ; 
Clare  also  wrote  to  him,  consenting  to  surrender 
the  child  to  its  father.  Clare  agreed,  notwithstand- 
ing the  fact  that  Byron  had  stated  he  could  only 
receive  Allegra  on  the  stipulation  that  her  parting 
with  the  child  should  be  final.  Shelley  in  the  mean- 
time had  heard  some  gossip  about  Byron's  mode  of 
life  at  Venice,  and  he  endeavoured,  but  without  avail, 

Shelley  in  England 

to  dissuade  Clare  from  giving  the  child  into  its  father's 
care.  On  April  28th  Mary's  Swiss  maid,  Elise,  left 
Milan  with  Allegra  for  Venice,  and  remained  there  as 
her  nurse.  It  was  not  until  August  that  Shelley  and 
Byron  met  again.  Clare,  who  had  received  some 
letters  about  Allegra  from  Elise,  longed  to  see  the 
child,  and  persuaded  Shelley  to  take  her  to  Venice, 
in  the  hope  that  Byron  would  relent.  Clare  remained 
with  some  friends  while  Shelley  went  alone  to  call  on 
Byron,  who  gave  him  a  warm  welcome,  and,  believing 
that  Clare  was  at  Padua,  he  consented  that  the  child 
should  visit  her  mother  at  that  place  for  a  week. 
Byron  took  Shelley  in  his  gondola  to  the  Lido,  where 
horses  were  in  waiting  for  them,  and  they  rode  along 
the  sands  talking.  "  Our  conversation,"  wrote 
Shelley,1  "  consisted  in  histories  of  his  wounded 
feelings,  and  questions  as  to  my  affairs,  and  great 
professions  of  friendship  and  regard  for  me.  He  said, 
that  if  he  had  been  in  England  at  the  time  of  the 
Chancery  affair,  he  would  have  moved  heaven  and 
earth  to  have  prevented  such  a  decision."  This 
memorable  ride  on  the  Lido,  "  the  bank  of  land  which 
breaks  the  flow  of  Adria  towards  Venice,"  was  after- 
wards immortalised  by  Shelley  in  his  Julian  and 
Maddalo.  Byron,  who  had  a  high  regard  for  Shelley 
as  a  man  and  a  poet,  offered  him  the  use  of  his  villa 

1  In  his  letter  to  Mary,  August  23,  1818. 

The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

at  I  Cappuccini,  near  Este.  Mrs.  Shelley,  in  her 
notes  to  her  husband's  poem  for  1818,  has  described 
this  villa  as  "  built  on  the  site  of  a  Capuchin  convent, 
demolished  when  the  French  suppressed  religious 
houses ;  it  was  situated  on  the  very  overhanging 
brow  of  a  low  hill  at  the  foot  of  a  range  of  higher 
ones.  The  house  was  cheerful  and  pleasant ;  a  vine- 
trellised  walk — a  pergola,  as  it  is  called  in  Italian — 
led  from  the  hall  door  to  a  summer-house  at  the  end 
of  the  garden,  which  Shelley  made  his  study,  and  in 
which  he  began  the  Prometheus  ;  and  here  also,  as 
he  mentions  in  a  letter,  he  wrote  Julian  and  Maddalo. 
A  slight  ravine,  with  a  road  in  its  depth,  divided  the 
garden  from  the  hill,  on  which  stood  the  ancient 
castle  of  Este,  whose  dark,  massive  walls  gave  forth 
an  echo,  and  from  whose  ruined  crevices  owls  and  bats 
flitted  forth  at  night,  as  the  crescent  moon  sank 
behind  the  black  and  heavy  battlements.  We  looked 
from  the  garden  over  the  wide  plain  of  Lombardy, 
bounded  to  the  west  by  the  fair  Apennines,  while  to 
the  east  the  horizon  was  lost  in  the  misty  distance. 
After  the  picturesque,  but  limited,  view  of  mountain, 
ravine,  and  chestnut  wood  at  the  Baths  of  Lucca, 
there  was  something  infinitely  gratifying  to  the  eye 
in  the  wide  range  of  prospect  commanded  by  our  new 

To  this  place  Mary  set  out  on  August  3ist,  but  her 

Shelley  in   England 

little  girl,  Clara,  was  taken  ill  on  the  journey,  and  when 
she  arrived  the  child's  condition  was  serious.  On 
September  24th  Shelley  and  Mary  took  Clara  to  Venice, 
but  as  soon  as  they  reached  that  place  she  showed 
symptoms  of  increased  weakness.  A  physician  was 
summoned,  but  he  could  do  nothing  for  the  little 
patient,  who  expired  shortly  after,  and  was  buried 
the  following  day  on  the  Lido. 

The  Shelleys  spent  the  winter  in  Naples,  and  in  the 
spring  of  1819  they  visited  Rome  ;  but  they  protracted 
their  visit  too  long,  and  at  the  beginning  of  June 
they  were  still  there.  The  climate  which  was  respon- 
sible for  Clara's  death  brought  on  a  fever  which  also 
proved  fatal  to  little  William  Shelley.  He  was  only 
ill  for  a  few  days,  but  his  case  was  hopeless  from  the 
first.  While  he  lingered,  his  father  watched  by  his 
bedside  for  sixty  hours  without  closing  his  eyes.  On 
Monday,  June  7th,  at  noon,  the  day  on  which  Shelley 
and  Mary  had  arranged  to  leave  Rome  for  Leghorn, 
the  child  died,  and  was  laid  in  a  nameless  grave  in 
the  English  burial-ground  at  Rome,  near  the  Porta 
San  Paolo.  William  Shelley's  dust  rests  in  the  same 
earth  that  covers  the  mortal  remains  of  Keats.  Some 
months  later  Shelley  gave  instructions  for  a  monu- 
ment to  be  placed  over  the  child's  grave,  and  as  he 
was  not  in  Rome  at  the  time  to  superintend  the  work, 
the  stone  was  placed  over  the  body  of  an  adult.  This 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

accident  was  afterwards  discovered  when  it  was  de- 
sired to  move  the  child's  body  and  place  it  beside 
the  father's  ashes  in  the  adjoining  cemetery. 

Shelley  and  Mary  were  anxious  to  escape  from  Rome, 
with  its  painful  associations  of  the  presence  and  loss 
of  their  only  child.  Their  friends,  the  Gisbornes,  were 
living  'at  Leghorn,  and  in  order  to  be  near  them  the 
Shelleys  took,  for  three  months,  the  Villa  Valsovano, 
a  small  house  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  town.  Here 
Shelley,  in  his  little  glazed-roof  study,  "  Scythrop's 
Tower  "  (as  he  named  it,  after  Peacock's  "  Night- 
mare Abbey  "),  at  the  top  of  the  house,  attempted, 
by  means  of  literary  work,  to  chase  away  his  grief. 
There  he  wrote  his  tragedy  The  Cenci,  a  task  which, 
he  told  Peacock,  had  occupied  him  for  two  months, 
and  of  which  the  first  rough  draft  was  finished  on 
August  8th.  He  also  completed  the  Prometheus  Un- 
bound, begun  at  Este,  as  far  as  the  third  act.  The 
fourth  act,  which  was  an  afterthought  that  occurred 
to  him  at  Florence,  was  completed  by  the  end  of 
December.  The  year  1819  was  Shelley's  annus  mira- 
bilis  ;  his  literary  activities  at  Leghorn  included  yet 
another  achievement,  namely,  a  poem  in  quite  an- 
other strain,  the  delightful  conversation  piece  of 
Julian  and  Maddalo.  As  Professor  Dowden  says  : 
' '  To  have  created  such  poems  as  Prometheus  and  The 
Cenci  in  one  year  is  an  achievement  without  parallel 


Shelley  in  England 

in  English  poetry  since  Shakespeare  lived  and 

But  the  Villa  Valsovano  was  a  sad  place  without  the 
children  and  with  Mary's  melancholy,  which  followed 
on  the  death  of  William.  Her  grief  was  alleviated 
by  the  birth  of  a  boy  on  November  I2th  at  Florence, 
where  she,  Shelley,  and  Clare  had  gone  at  the  be- 
ginning of  October.  Shelley,  in  announcing  this 
event  to  his  friend  Leigh  Hunt,  wrote  on  November 
13  th  :  "  Yesterday  morning  Mary  brought  me  a  little 
boy.  She  suffered  but  two  hours'  pain,  and  is  now  so 
well  that  it  seems  a  wonder  that  she  stays  in  bed. 
The  babe  is  also  quite  well,  and  has  begun  to  suck. 
You  may  imagine  that  this  is  a  great  relief  and  a 
great  comfort  to  me  amongst  all  my  misfortunes,  past, 
present,  and  to  come.  .  .  .  Poor  Mary  begins  (for  the 
first  time)  to  look  a  little  consoled  ;  for  we  have  spent, 
as  you  imagine,  a  miserable  five  months."  The  child, 
who  was  named  Percy  Florence,  succeeded  his  grand- 
father, Sir  Timothy  Shelley,  on  his  death  in  April 
1844,  as  third  baronet. 

Shortly  before  Percy's  birth,  Miss  Sophia  Stacey, 
with  Miss  Jones,  her  travelling  companion,  arrived  in 
Florence  from  Sussex.  Mrs.  Angeli  informs  us  in  her 
book,  Shelley  and  his  Friends  in  Italy,  that  Miss 
Stacey  was  the  youngest  daughter  of  Mr.  Flint  Stacey 
of  Sittingbourne,  and,  on  the  death  of  her  father,  she 


The   Paradise   of  Exiles 

became  a  ward  of  Shelley's  uncle,  Mr.  Robert  Parker. 
During  her  residence  with  Mr.  Parker  at  Bath  she 
said  she  had  naturally  heard  much  of  Shelley,  and, 
as  Mary  told  Mrs.  Gisborne  in  a  letter,  Miss  Stacey 
"was  enthousiasmee  to  see  him."  Two  days  after  her 
arrival  she  called  at  the  Palazzo  Marini,  and  learnt 
that  Shelley,  his  wife,  and  Miss  Clairmont  were  staying 
there.  Miss  Stacey  kept  a  diary,  from  which  Mrs. 
Angeli  has  given  in  her  book  a  charming  and  unex- 
pected sidelight  on  Shelley's  life  at  Florence.  Miss 
Stacey  wrote  some  years  later :  "I  shall  never  forget 
his  personal  appearance.  His  face  was  singularly 
engaging,  with  strongly  marked  intellectuality.  His 
eyes  were,  however,  the  most  striking  portion  of  his 
face,  blue  and  large  and  of  a  tenderness  unsurpassed. 
In  his  manner  there  was  an  almost  childish  simplicity 
combined  with  much  refinement."  She  tells  us  that 
Shelley  kept  a  carriage  but  no  horses,  "  being  more 
humane  to  keep  fellow-creatures."  She  was  struck 
by  the  quiet  life  of  the  poet  and  his  wife,  who  did  not 
mix  with  their  fellow-countrymen  at  Florence.  Miss 
Stacey  seemed  to  take  pleasure  in  listening  to  his 
talk  on  the  Established  Church  and  Radicalism,  on 
Love,  Liberty,  and  Death.  He  spoke  to  her  of  his 
sisters,  of  his  youthful  adventures,  discoursed  on 
authors  and  music,  and  desired  to  be  remembered  to 
his  uncle,  Mr.  Parker.  She  also  noted  his  studious 


Shelley  in  England 

habits  and  his  devotion  to  books.  "  He  is  always 
reading,  and  at  night  has  a  little  table  with  pen  and 
ink,  she  [Mary]  the  same." 

Shelley  showed  his  baby,  then  two  days  old,  to  Miss 
Stacey,  and  remarked  that,  although  it  could  do  no 
mischief  now,  it  might  some  day  or  other  be  the 
conqueror  of  provinces.  And  she  then  looked  at  a 
picture  of  William  Shelley,  and  recognised  the  likeness 
to  Lady  Shelley,  his  grandmother.  Miss  Stacey  de- 
lighted Shelley  with  her  singing,  and  in  return  for  the 
pleasure  that  he  derived  from  it  he  gave  her  the  verses 
"  I  arise  from  dreams  of  thee,"  and  afterwards  wrote 
in  her  pocket-book  three  songs — "  Good-night," 
"  Love's  Philosophy,"  and  "  Time  Long  Past."  The 
poet  undoubtedly  admired  his  young  friend,  and,  after 
hearing  her  frequently  play  on  the  harp,  he  wrote  for 
her  his  beautiful  lines,  "  Thou  art  fair,  and  few  are 
fairer."  He  assisted  her  and  her  friend  in  making 
their  preparations  for  leaving  Florence,  and  went  with 
them  to  look  at  the  carriage  that  they  had  engaged 
to  take  them  to  Rome,  the  step  of  which  being  high, 
he  gallantly  lifted  Miss  Stacey  to  the  ground.  When 
the  day  arrived  for  their  departure,  Shelley  rose  early 
in  order  to  see  them  off  on  their  journey. 

Sir  Timothy  alluded  to  Miss  Stacey's  visit  and  to  the 
birth  of  his  grandson  on  January  18,  1820,  in  a  letter 
from  Bath  to  Mr.  Whitton  : 


The   Paradise  of  Exiles 

"  Some  ladies  travelling  in  Italy  write  to  Bath  that 
they  met  P.  B.  at  Florence  with  an  addition  to  his 
family  of  a  Son  :  and  with  Lord  Byron  to  whom  he 
offer'd  to  introduce  the  ladies  :  which  they  declin'd. 
It  is  not  likely  he  will  soon  visit  England  with  so  many 
unwelcome  guests  to  ask  how  he  does  by  a  gentle  tap." 

The  statement  that  Byron  was  at  Florence  during 
Miss  Stacey's  visit  was  incorrect :  he  was,  as  a  matter 
of  fact,  at  Ravenna.  Shelley  had  told  Miss  Stacey 
how  much  he  should  like  his  friend  to  hear  her  sing, 
and  he  wrote  asking  Byron  to  come,  but  he  was  pre- 
vented by  illness  from  visiting  Florence. 

The  unwelcome  guests  mentioned  in  Sir  Timothy's 
letters  were  his  son's  creditors,  one  of  whom  had  that 
day  applied  for  the  payment  of  a  small  amount.  Other 
creditors  learnt  of  Shelley's  prolonged  absence  abroad, 
and  they  also  wrote  to  his  father,  who  seems  to  have 
been  much  annoyed  by  their  applications,  with  which 
he  invariably  declined  to  deal.  Sir  Timothy  was 
troubled  with  the  gout,  and  tried  to  get  relief  from  his 
malady  by  a  visit  to  Bath,  where  he  stayed  several 
months,  and  where  he  seems  to  have  purchased  a 
house.  He  was  concerning  himself  at  this  time  with 
the  education  of  his  second  son,  John  Shelley,  who  was 
now  a  youth  of  fourteen. 

On  January  26,  1820,  the  Shelleys  left  Florence,  but 
before  they  departed  their  little  boy,  Percy  Florence, 


Shelley  in   England 

was  baptized  by  the  Rev.  John  Harding,  Rector  of 
Coity,  Glamorganshire,  according  to  the  forms  ap- 
pointed by  the  United  Church  of  England  and  Ireland 
for  the  ministration  of  private  baptism  of  children 
in  houses.  A  copy  of  the  certificate  of  baptism  was 
taken  by  Peacock,  on  August  15,  1822,  to  the  Rector 
of  St.  James',  Westminster,  and  entered  in  the  register 
of  that  church  of  baptisms  solemnised  out  of  England. 
Sir  Percy  Shelley,  in  a  letter  dated  January  n,  1844, 
wrote  in  regard  to  his  christening  :  "  Miss  Clairmont 
was  present  at  my  baptism.  Mr.  Hogg  knew  me  when 
I  was  two  years  old."  Mary  added,  in  the  same 
letter :  "  Mr.  Leigh  Hunt  saw  Percy  just  at  the  time 
of  his  father's  death  in  Italy.'1 

From  Florence,  Shelley  and  Mary  went  to  Pisa, 
and  there,  in  that  ancient  city,  with  its  silent  streets 
full  of  memories  of  the  past,  they  spent  on  the  whole 
a  period  of  two  years'  tranquil  happiness,  broken  by 
short  occasional  visits  to  Lucca  and  the  Bagni  di  Pisa. 
Clare  had  obtained  a  situation  in  Florence,  and  her 
absence  was  a  relief  to  Mary,  who  was  able  to  indulge 
to  some  extent  in  her  love  of  society.  This  proved 
no  attraction  to  Shelley,  who  would  not  tolerate  mere 
acquaintances,  and  he  was  prompted  to  say  of  his 
wife  :  "  She  can't  bear  solitude,  nor  I  society — the 
quick  coupled  to  the  dead."  Much  as  Shelley  disliked 
society,  he  was  now  the  chief  object  of  interest  of  a 



After  a  photograph  in  the  possession  of  his  only  grand-daughter, 
Nobil  Donna  Zella  Opezzo 

The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

circle  of  sincere  admirers,  some  of  whom  he  himself 
regarded  highly.  In  the  summer  of  1821  Edward 
Ellerker  Williams  and  Jane  Williams  arrived  at  Pisa, 
and  they  soon  became  the  intimate  friends  of  Shelley 
and  his  wife.  Williams  had  formerly  been  in  the  Navy, 
but  having  left  that  branch  of  the  service,  he  obtained 
a  commission  in  the  8th  Dragoon  Guards,  and  went 
to  India.  He  returned  to  Europe  with  the  lady  to 
whom  he  was  united,  the  Jane  whose  rare  beauty 
moved  Shelley  to  write  some  of  his  most  inspired 
lyrics.  Edward  John  Trelawny  came  to  Pisa  early 
in  1822,  and  was  joined  shortly  after  by  Byron,  and 
Thomas  Medwin,  Shelley's  cousin  and  schoolfellow. 
Medwin  was  a  bore,  with  literary  aspirations,  but  he 
had  an  admiration  for  Shelley,  who,  though  not 
usually  long-suffering  where  bores  were  concerned, 
treated  him  with  his  accustomed  kindness.1  It  was 
otherwise  with  Byron,  whose  companionship  soon  made 
Pisa  intolerable  to  Shelley.  The  necessity  of  finding 
a  more  temperate  situation  for  the  summer  months, 
and  probably  some  desire  to  escape  from  Byron's 
society,  led  Shelley  to  take  a  house,  the  Casa  Magni, 
situated  on  the  seashore  at  Lerici,  in  the  Bay  of 

1  This  period  of  Shelley's  life  has  been  very  fully  recorded  by  Trelawny  in 
his  excellent  Recollections,  Records,  and  in  his  Letters,  edited  by  Mr.  H. 
Buxton  Forman  ;  by  Medwin  in  his  Life  of  Shelley,  which  Mr.  Forman 
has  also  recently  re-edited ;  in  Williams'  interesting  Diary,  and  in 
Mrs.  Angeli's  Shelley  and  his  Friends  in  Italy. 


Shelley  in   England 

Spezzia .  Thither  the  Shelley s  moved  with  the  Williams'  s 
on  April  26,  1822.  It  was  a  somewhat  desolate  place 
for  Mary  after  Pisa,  and  she  chafed  at  the  solitude  ; 
but  Shelley  found  it  entirely  to  his  liking.  Early  in 
the  year  Trelawny,  with  Captain  Roberts,  had  super- 
intended the  building  for  Shelley  at  Genoa  of  the  fatal 
boat,  a  small  schooner,  afterwards  named  the  Ariel, 
which  was  duly  brought  round  to  Lerici. 

Leigh  Hunt  arrived  at  Leghorn  towards  the  end  of 
June  with  his  wife  and  family,  after  an  interminable 
voyage  from  England.  He  came  at  the  invitation  of 
Lord  Byron  to  found  and  edit  a  quarterly  magazine, 
afterwards  known  as  the  Liberal.  Shelley,  who  had 
been  looking  forward  to  meeting  his  friend,  left  Lerici 
on  July  ist  with  Williams  in  the  Ariel,  and  spent  a 
week  at  Leghorn  and  Pisa,  mostly  in  Hunt's  company. 
His  last  verses,  in  which  he  welcomed  Leigh  Hunt 
to  Italy,  unfortunately  have  been  lost. 

The  tragic  story  of  the  deaths  of  Shelley  and  Williams 
is  familiar  to  everyone.  On  the  afternoon  of  July 
8th,  a  day  of  extreme  heat,  after  taking  a  last  farewell 
of  Leigh  Hunt,  they  set  sail  for  Lerici,  but  they  never 
reached  their  destination.  A  violent  storm  swept 
over  the  sea  shortly  after  they  were  on  their  way, 
and  the  boat  was  obscured  from  the  view  of  Captain 
Roberts,  who,  from  the  top  of  the  lighthouse  at  Leg- 
horn, was  watching  the  vessel  on  her  homeward  track. 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

When  the  storm-cloud  lifted,  Roberts  looked  again, 
and  observed  every  other  vessel  that  he  had  seen  in 
the  Ariel's  company,  but  she  was  no  longer  visible. 
After  some  days  of  agonising  suspense,  on  July  i8th, 
Shelley's  body  was  cast  up  on  the  shore  near  Via 
Reggio  ;  that  of  Williams  had  been  recovered  some 
three  miles  distant  on  the  previous  day.  The  bodies 
were  buried  temporarily  on  the  shore  near  to  where 
they  had  been  discovered,  and  in  order  to  effect  their 
removal,  they  were  disinterred  some  days  later  and 
cremated,  according  to  the  Tuscan  law.  On  August 
I4th  the  remains  of  Williams  were  burnt,  and  on  the 
day  following  the  ceremony  was  repeated  with  Shelley's 
body  by  Trelawny,  in  the  presence  of  Byron  and 
Leigh  Hunt.  Shelley's  cremation  was  described  in 
detail  both  by  Trelawny  and  Hunt.  They  related 
that,  when  the  rest  of  his  body  had  been  reduced  to 
ashes,  his  heart  remained  unconsumed,  and  it  was 
snatched  by  Trelawny  from  the  burning  embers  and 
given  to  Hunt,  who  afterwards  resigned  it  to  Mary 

After  Mary's  death  Shelley's  heart  was  found, 
wrapped  in  a  silken  shroud,  between  the  leaves  of  her 
copy  of  the  Pisa  edition  of  Adonais,  and  the  relic  was 
afterwards  enclosed  in  a  silver  case.  When  Sir  Percy 
Shelley  was  buried,  on  December  10,  1889,  in  his 
mother's  grave  at  St.  Peter's,  Bournemouth,  the  poet's 


Shelley  in  England 

heart  was  interred  with  him.  Many  years  previously 
Lady  Shelley  had  told  Mr.  Walter  Withall  of  Bedford 
Row  (a  friend  of  Sir  Percy's),  that  she  particularly 
wished  him  to  see  that  the  heart  was  placed  in  Sir 
Percy's  coffin  in  the  event  of  her  predeceasing  her 
husband.  She  also  told  him  that  the  heart  was  kept 
in  a  cushion  or  pillow,  which  she  always  carried  with 
her  whenever  she  travelled.1 

Two  books  were  found  in  Shelley's  pockets  when  his 
body  was  recovered :  Keats's  Lamia,  of  which  only 
the  binding  remained,  and  this  was  thrown  on  the 
pyre ;  and  a  volume  of  Sophocles,  now  in  the  Bod- 
leian. Trelawny  afterwards  placed  Shelley's  ashes 
in  an  oak  casket,  which  was  sent  to  Rome  and  in- 
terred in  the  English  Cemetery  in  January  1823.  In 
the  spring  of  that  year  Trelawny  visited  Shelley's 
grave,  and  seeing  that  it  was  overcrowded,  he  moved 
the  ashes  to  their  present  resting-place  in  the  adjoining 

The  first  intimation  of  the  death  of  Shelley  to  reach 
England  was  contained  in  the  following  characteristic 
letter  written  by  Leigh  Hunt  to  his  sister-in-law,  Miss 
Elizabeth  Kent,  which  arrived  in  London  not  later 

1  When  Shelley  House,  Chelsea,  was  burgled,  the  thieves  broke  into 
Lady  Shelley's  boudoir  and  threw  the  cushion  on  the  floor,  and  Lady 
Shelley  remarked  to  Mr.  Walter  Withall  that  it  was  very  fortunate  it  had 
not  been  taken.  It  was  on  this  occasion  that  she  gave  him  the  above 
directions  and  showed  him  the  pillow. 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

than  the  second  or  third  day  in  August.  The  com- 
munication for  Hunt's  brother,  John,  for  the  Examiner, 
duly  appeared  in  the  next  issue  of  that  paper. 

Leigh  Hunt  to  Elizabeth  Kent x 

PISA,  zoth  July  1822. 

DEAREST  BESSY, — Your  sister  is  as  well  as  she  can 
be  expected  to  be  ;  so  am  I,  and  the  children  ;  all 
which  I  tell  you  at  once,  at  the  head  of  my  letter,  lest 
the  frightful  note  I  am  compelled  to  strike  up,  should 
affect  you  still  more  than  it  must.  Good  God  !  how 
shall  I  say  it  ?  My  beloved  friend  Shelley, — my  dear, 
my  divine  friend,  the  best  of  friends  and  men — he  is 
no  more.  I  know  not  how  to  proceed  from  anguish  ; 
but  you  need  not  be  under  any  alarm  for  me.  Thank 
Heaven !  the  sorrows  that  I  have  gone  through 
enable  me  to  bear  this ;  and  we  all  endeavour  to  bear 
it  as  well  as  possible  for  each  other's  sakes,  which  is 
what  he,  the  noble-minded  being,  would  have  wished. 
Would  to  God  I  could  see  him — his  spirit — sitting  this 
moment  by  the  table.  I  think  it  would  no  more 
frighten  me  than  the  sight  of  my  baby, — whom  I  kiss 
and  wonder  why  he  has  not  gone  with  him. 

He  was  returning  to  Lerici  by  sea  with  his  friend 
Captain  Williams,  who  is  said  also  to  have  been  a  most 
amiable  man,  and  appeared  so.  It  was  on  the  8th  a 
storm  arose  ;  and  it  is  supposed  the  boat  must  have 
foundered  not  far  from  home.  The  bodies  were  thrown 
up  some  days  after.  Dear  S.  had  retained  a  book  in 
his  pocket,  which  he  told  me  he  would  not  part  with 
till  he  saw  me  again, — Keats's  last  publication.  He 

1  From  Leigh  Hunt's  Correspondence ',  vol.  i.  p.  189. 

545  2M 

Shelley  in  England 

borrowed  it  to  read  as  he  went.  It  will  be  buried  with 
him  :  that  is  to  say,  it  is  so  already,  on  the  sea-shore  ; 
but  if  he  is  taken  up  to  be  buried  elsewhere,  it  shall 
go  with  him.  Mr.  Williams,  too,  left  a  wife,  who  was 
passionately  fond  of  him.  Conceive  the  terrible  state 
in  which  the  women  are  ; — but  none  of  us  I  trust  have 
known  Shelley  for  nothing  :  the  Williams  doted  on 
him ;  and — I  know  what  to  say  ;  but  rely  upon  me, 
I  fear  nothing.  I  am  cooler  in  general  than  while 
writing  this,  and  besides  the  patience  to  which  I  have 
been  accustomed,  1  must  work  hard  for  our  new  pub- 
lication, which  will  still  go  on.  Lord  B.  is  very  kind. 

Pray,  show  or  send  Hogg  this  letter  for  him  to  see  ; 
and  tell  him  I  would  have  written  him  a  separate  one, 
but  at  present  I  am  sure  he  will  spare  it  me.  I  had 
already  begun  to  enliven  Shelley's  hours  with  accounts 
of  his  pleasant  sayings,  and  hoped  to — but,  good  God  ! 
how  are  one's  most  confident  expectations  cut  short ! 
I  embrace  him  as  my  friend  and  Shelley's. 

Adieu,  dearest  Bessy,  you  will  not  wonder  that  I 
do  not  make  this  letter  an  answer  to  your  last,  which 
I  was  delighted  to  receive.  It  showed  me  you  were 
well,  and  Henry  out  of  danger. 

Pray,  send  the  following  to  my  brother  for  the 

Your  ever  most  affectionate  friend, 


The  news  was  soon  abroad.  Whit  ton  knew  of  it  on 
August  3rd  ;  Godwin  heard  of  it  a  day  later,  and  on 
August  6th  he  wrote  to  Mary  :  "I  heard  only  two 
days  ago  the  most  afflicting  intelligence  to  you,  and 
in  some  measure  to  all  of  us,  that  can  be  imagined — 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

the  death  of  Shelley  on  the  8th  ultimo.  I  have  had 
no  direct  information,  the  news  only  comes  in  a  letter 
from  Leigh  Hunt  to  Miss  Kent,  and,  therefore,  were  it 
not  for  the  consideration  of  the  writer,  I  should  be 
authorised  to  disbelieve  it.  That  you  should  be  so 
overcome  as  not  to  be  able  to  write  is  perhaps  only 
too  natural ;  but  that  Jane  [Clare]  could  not  write 
one  line  I  could  never  have  believed."  1 

It  is  noticeable  that  Godwin  abstained  from  ex- 
pressing any  personal  regret  at  Shelley's  death.  He 
had  no  word  to  say  of  the  man  who,  in  order  to 
assist  him,  had  impaired  his  fortune.  Godwin,  who 
did  not  understand  his  son-in-law,  and  set  little 
value  on  his  poetry,  is  said  to  have  once  remarked, 
on  the  evidence  of  Charles  Clairmont,  after  seeing  him 
in  the  street,  "  that  Shelley  was  so  beautiful,  it  is  a 
pity  he  was  so  wicked  "  ;  and  Mary  wrote  to  Mrs 
Gisborne  some  years  later  :  "  Papa  loves  not  the 
memory  of  Shelley,  because  he  feels  that  he  injured 

Apparently  the  earliest  public  announcement  of 
Shelley's  death  was  Leigh  Hunt's  contribution  to 
the  Examiner  (given  below),  which  appeared  on 
August  4,  1822,  the  thirtieth  anniversary  of  the  poet's 
birth.  The  notice  was  quoted  on  August  5th  in  the 

1  Life  and  Letters  of  Mary  W.  Shelley,  by  Mrs.  Julian  Marshall,  vol. 
p.  6. 


Shelley  in   England 

Morning   Chronicle,    and    perhaps    other    newspapers 
also  copied  it. 

"  Those  who  know  a  great  mind  when  they  meet 
with  it,  and  who  have  been  delighted  with  the  noble 
things  in  the  works  of  Mr.  Shelley,  will  be  shocked  to 
hear  that  he  has  been  cut  off  in  the  prime  of  his  life 
and  genius.  He  perished  at  sea,  in  a  storm,  with  his 
friend  Captain  Williams,  of  the  Fusiliers,  on  the  even- 
ing of  the  8th  ult.,  somewhere  off  Via  Reggio,  on  the 
coast  of  Italy,  between  Leghorn  and  the  Gulf  of 
Spezzia.  He- had  been  to  Pisa  to  do  a  kind  action,  and 
he  was  returning  to  his  country  abode  at  Lerici  to 
do  another.  Such  was  the  whole  course  of  his  life. 
Let  those  who  have  known  such  hearts  and  have  lost 
them,  judge  of  the  grief  of  his  friends.  Both  he  and 
Captain  Williams  have  left  wives  and  children.  Cap- 
tain Williams  was  also  in  the  prime  of  life  and  a  most 
amiable  man,  beloved  like  his  friend.  The  greatest 
thing  we  can  say  in  honour  of  his  memory  (and  we 
are  sure  he  would  think  so),  is,  that  he  was  worthy 
to  live  with  his  friend  and  to  die  with  him. — Vale, 
dilectissime  hominum !  Vale  dilectissime ;  et  nos 
ama,  ut  dixisti,  in  sepulchro." 

As  stated  before,  Whitton  knew  of  Shelley's  death 
on  August  3rd,  for  on  that  date  he  communicated  the 
news  to  Sir  Timothy,  and  he  wrote  again  on  the  same 
subject  on  August  5th,  having  no  doubt  in  the  mean- 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

time  seen  the  Examiner  notice.  The  lawyer's  letters 
are  not  forthcoming,1  but  Sir  Timothy's  reply  which 
follows  shows  more  anxiety  for  his  younger  son  John's 
future  career  than  for  the  loss  of  his  elder  son. 

Sir  Timothy  Shelley  to  William  Whitton 


Aug.  6,  1822. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — The  Sting  of  Death  has  its  effects. 
God's  will  be  done  !  Tho'  we  have  it  from  the  Public 
Papers  only  at  present,  such  catastrophies  are  apt  to 
be  too  true. 

In  regard  to  the  enquiries  you  mention,  I  leave  to 
you.  John  at  present  requires  a  steady  young  man 
as  his  Tutor,  where,  if  He  could  be  found  to  form  a 
Friendship  with  Instruction,  and  masters  for  em- 

I  was  most  perfectly  satisfied  with  Mr.  Warnford, 
but  the  Clergyman  of  the  Parish  form'd  a  Friendship 
for  John  and  I  fear  has  not  been  that  Friend  that 
could  be  wished,  His  prospects  being  held  up  to  him 
that  do  not  accord  with  my  wishes.  Could  I  beg  of 
you  to  write  to  me  that  John  might  see  the  letter  that 
this  unforeseen  event  has.  chang'd  the  face  of  circum- 
stances in  my  family,  that  he  must  think  of  something 
in  order  to  better  his  condition  in  Life. 

It  is  wonderful  what  artful  men  there  are  in  the 
world,  and  those  whom  you  may  consider  Friends 
confidentially  are  grounding  the  mischief  of  youth. 

May  I  once  more  request  to  hear  from  you  upon 
the  above  subject,  it  wd.  be  of  Service  at  this  period 

1  Mr.  Whitton's  letter-book  for  this  period  is  missing. 


Shelley  in  England 

of  Time.     Lady  Shelley  and  my  Family  offer  their 
best  Compts. 

Believe  me,  My  dear  Sir, 

Yrs.  most  Faithfully, 


I  open'd  the  letter  that  I  omitted  to  mention  I  had 
form'd  the  intention  of  sending  John  to  a  Gentleman 
at  Sutton  Coldfield,  Nr.  Birmingham,  and  was  abt. 
to  take  him,  He  takes  4  only,  but  we  see  Private  Tutors 
cannot  keep  youth  in  order  where  there  are  others. 
I  must  find  some  person  if  possible,  whatever  I  do 
about  this  gentleman.  He  is  highly  spoken  of  by  a 
friend  of  mine. 

With  Sir  Timothy's  next  communication  to  Whitton 
(August  8th)  he  sent  him  two  letters.  One  was  from 
Shelley's  friend  T.  L.  Peacock,  and  the  co-executor 
with  Byron  of  the  poet's  will,  giving  Sir  Timothy  the 
first  personal  intimation  of  his  son's  death,  to  which 
he  seems  to  have  been  quite  prepared  to  resign  him- 
self, although  he  displayed  some  concern  for  his  suit 
of  mourning.  The  other  letter  was  from  Mr.  Holste, 
who  wrote  on  behalf  of  the  representatives  of  the  late 
Miss  Kitchener.  Sir  Timothy  concluded  that  Holste 
had  written  to  him  after  having  seen  a  public  an- 
nouncement of  the  poet's  death. 

Sir  Timothy  Shelley  to  W.  Whitton 


Aug.  8,  1822. 

DEAR  SIR, — I  have  given  up  my  intention  going 
to  London  at  present,  not  having  my  mourning,  and 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

the  etiquette  here  not  to  appear  in  Public,  except  in 
case  of  necessity  until  we  have  been  to  Church  :  and 
under  the  peculiar  circumstances  the  general  accepta- 
tion of  the  world  may  be  set  at  rest  in  regard  to  the 

I  have  therefore  enclos'd  you  the  letters.  I  have 
no  knowledge  of  either  of  the  Gentlemen. 

I  have  not  written  even  to  Mr.  Peacock.  I  men- 
tion'd  before,  if  it  seem'd  right  to  give  him  a  line  to 
thank  him  for  the  communication  being  the  only 
information,  but  thro'  the  Public  Papers. 

The  other  Gentleman  must  have  seen  the  account, 
tho'  he  does  not  give  any  hint  of  it,  but  after  so  long 
a  period  writes  to  me. 

This  Miss  Kitchener  was  a  School  Mistress  and  after 
Bysshe  was  married,  went  to  see  them.  He  knew 
her  first  at  Cuckfield,  when  he  was  at  Captn.  Pilfold's 
before  he  married. 

I  have  no  doubt  but  you  will  find  both  the  marriages 
correct.  He  was  particular  in  that  respect — I  sup- 
pose there  will  require  some  arrangement  when 
matters  are  understood. 

To  lose  an  eldest  son  in  his  life  time  and  the  un- 
fortunate manner  of  his  losing  that  life,  is  truely  melan- 
choly to  think  of,  but  as  it  has  pleas'd  the  Great  Author 
of  our  Being  so  to  dispose  of  him  I  must  make  up  my 
mind  with  resignation. 

Believe  me  yrs.  most  truly  and  faithfully, 



WM.  WHITTON,  Esq., 
No.  3,  King's  Road, 

Bedford  Row,  London. 


Shelley  in  England 

T.  L.  Peacock  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

Aug.  6,  1822. 

SIR, — I  am  sorry  to  be  the  medium  of  conveying 
to  you  the  afflicting  intelligence  which  I  have  this  day 
received  in  a  letter  from  a  friend  of  Mrs.  Shelley  in 
Italy,  in  which  country  your  son  has  resided  during 
the  last  four  years.  In  that  letter  I  am  requested  to 
communicate  to  you  the  melancholy  tidings  of  his 
having  perished  at  sea,  in  a  storm,  while  proceeding 
along  the  coast  in  an  open  boat  from  Pisa  to  Lerici. 
He  had  not  insured  his  life,  and  his  widow  and  her 
infant  son  are  left  without  any  provision. 
I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Sir, 

Your  most  obedient  servant, 


H.  Holste  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

LONDON,  Aug.  6,  1822. 
22,  BUSH  LANE. 

SIR, — I  hope  you  will  excuse  the  liberty  I  take  in 
addressing  you  respecting  a  Debt  owing  by  your  Son 
Mr.  Percy  B.  Shelley  to  the  Estate  of  the  late  Miss 
Kitchener  of  Edmonton.  I  am  the  Executor  and 
have  written  to  Mr.  Shelley  at  Pisa,  where  I  am  in- 
formed he  is  at  present  residing,  but  have  not  received 
any  answer. 

The  Debt  amounts  to  £100,  which  Miss  Kitchener 
lent  him  in  June  1812  and  which  he  has  subsequently 
engaged  to  repay. 

The  documents  relating  thereto  are  in  my  posses- 
sion, and  also  many  letters  from  him  and  his  family. 


The   Paradise  of  Exiles 

I  make  this  humble  appeal  to  you,  on  behalf  of  the 
Creditors  and  under  the  conviction  that  you  would 
be  so  kind  to  settle  this  trifle,  and  should  you  wish 
to  have  the  documents  inspected  by  any  one  here  in 
Town  I  shall  with  pleasure  lay  them  before  such  a 
person  as  you  may  be  pleased  to  appoint ;  and  in  the 
hope  of  a  favorable  reply, 

I  remain  most  respectfully, 

Your  most  obd.  and  humble  Servt., 


etc.,  etc.,  etc., 

Horsham . 

There  is  no  mention  of  a  loan  from  Miss  Kitchener 
to  Shelley  in  his  correspondence  with  her  during  June 
1812.  In  his  letter,  however,  of  June  nth,  he  asked 
Miss  Kitchener  if  she  had  enough  money  for  her  journey 
to  Wales,  where  she  had  decided  to  visit  him  and  his 
wife,  and  if  she  had  not,  he  said  that  he  would  remit 
some  as  soon  as  an  amount  of  £50,  then  due  to  him, 
should  arrive.  One  other  reference  to  money,  in 
Shelley's  letters  to  Miss  Kitchener  at  this  time,  is 
contained  in  his  letter  to  her  of  June  i8th.  He  con- 
templated taking  a  cottage,  recommended  by  Godwin, 
at  Chepstow,  and  he  proposed  to  journey  there  with 
his  wife  and  sister-in-law,  Eliza,  who  was  to  remain 
at  the  cottage  while  Shelley  and  Harriet  travelled 
across  the  country  to  Sussex,  where  they  proposed  to 


Shelley  in   England 

pick  up  Miss  Kitchener  and  to  take  her  back  with 
them.  Shelley  calculated  that  on  arriving  at  Chep- 
stow  a  sum  of  £13  would  remain  to  him,  with  which 
he  would  defray  the  journey  to  Hurst.  But  for  the 
expenses  of  their  return  to  Chepstow — as  Shelley  said, 
"  We  shall  be  penniless  " — he  would  depend  upon  Miss 
Kitchener's  exertions  with  a  certain  Mr.  Howell.  The 
journey  to  Chepstow  was  not  undertaken,  but  it  is 
just  possible  that  Miss  Kitchener  may  have  sent  him 
the  £100  to  which  Holste  referred,  although  the 
amount  may  have  been  one  year's  instalment  of  the 
allowance  mentioned  below. 

Miss  Kitchener  did  not  join  the  Shelleys  until 
after  July  I4th,  on  which  date  she  visited  the 
Godwins  on  her  journey  through  London  to  Lyn- 
mouth,  where  they  had  moved  in  the  meantime.  She 
left  the  Shelleys'  household  about  November  8,  1812, 
and  Harriet,  in  writing  from  Stratford-on-Avon  to 
Catherine  Nugent  on  November  I4th,  said  :  "It  was 
a  long  time  ere  we  could  possibly  get  her  [Miss 
Kitchener]  away,  till  at  last  Percy  said  he  would  give 
her  £100  per  annum.  And  now,  thank  God,  she  has 
left  us  never  more  to  return."  Shelley  wrote  to  Hogg 
on  December  3,  1812  :  "  The  Brown  Demon,  as  we 
call  our  late  tormentor  and  schoolmistress,  must  re- 
ceive her  stipend  .  .  .  certainly  she  is  embarrassed 
and  poor.  ..." 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

After  her  departure  from  the  Shelleys'  Miss  Kitchener 
returned  to  Sussex,  where  the  "  Newspaper  Editor," 
who  contributed  his  reminiscences  of  Shelley  to 
Fraser's  Magazine,  "  saw  her  at  the  house  of  her 
father,  sitting  alone  with  one  of  Shelley's  works  before 
her.  Her  fine  black  eye  lighted  up,  her  well-formed 
Roman  countenance  was  full  of  animation,  when  I 
spoke  of  Shelley."  Medwin  spoke  of  her  as  "an 
esprit  fort,  ceruleanly  blue,"  who  "  fancied  herself  a 
poetess.  I  only  know  of  one  anecdote,"  he  said, 
"  which  Shelley  used  to  relate,  laughing  till  the  tears 
ran  down  his  cheeks.  She  perpetrated  an  ode,  proving 
that  she  was  a  great  stickler  for  the  rights  of  her  sex, 
the  first  line  of  which  ran  thus  : 

"  *  All,  all  are  men — women  and  all ! '  " 

Mr.  T.  J.  Wise  tells  me  that  Mr.  Henry  James  Slack 
gave  him  the  following  information  concerning  Miss 
Hitchener  from  his  personal  knowledge.  He  said  that 
she  subsequently  became  governess  to  the  children 
of  a  gentleman  who  held  some  official  position,  probably 
in  the  diplomatic  service,  and  she  accompanied  his 
family  to  the  Continent.  Before  she  left  England, 
however,  she  deposited  with  Mr.  Slack,  Shelley's  letters 
to  her,  together  with  transcripts  of  some  of  hers  to 
Shelley,  and  that  these  papers  were  never  reclaimed. 
While  abroad  Miss  Hitchener  made  the  acquaintance, 


Shelley  in  England 

and  afterwards  married,  an  officer  in  the  Austrian 
service,  but  she  parted  from  him  soon  after,  and,  re- 
turning to  England,  assumed  her  maiden  name.  She 
then  appears  to  have  gone  to  Edmonton,  where,  with 
the  aid  of  her  sisters,  she  kept  a  school  and  earned  the 
esteem  of  her  pupils.  She  left  no  will,  but  from  a 
search  made  at  Somerset  House  it  appears  that  on 
the  8th  March  1822,  Letters  of  Administration  of  the 
goods,  chattels,  and  credits  of  Elizabeth  Kitchener, 
late  of  Edmonton  in  the  county  of  Middlesex,  Spinster, 
deceased,  were  granted  to  Thomas  Kitchener,  her 
natural  and  lawful  father.  The  estate  was  sworn  at 
£450  ;  the  date  of  her  death  is  not  mentioned. 

As  some  misstatements  have  been  made  with  regard 
to  Mr.  Slack,  it  may  be  as  well  to  say  that  he  was 
at  one  time  editor  of  the  Intellectual  Observer,  the 
"  Little  John  "  of  the  Weekly  Times,  author  of  Marvels 
of  Pond  Life,  The  Philosophy  of  Progress,  and  other 
books.  He  died  June  16,  1896,  and  is  described  in 
his  will  as  barrister-at-law. 

Miss  Kitchener's  maiden  name  appears  on  the  title- 
page  of  a  poem  in  blank  verse  entitled  The  Weald  of 
Sussex,  which  bears  the  date  of  1822.  Another  volume 
from  her  pen,  The  Fireside  Bagatelle,  containing  enigmas 
of  the  chief  towns  of  England  and  Wales,  had  been 
previously  published  in  1818.  If  the  correspondence 
of  Shelley  with  Miss  Kitchener,  to  which  Mr.  Holste 


The  Paradise   of  Exiles 

referred,  was  the  same  as  that  in  Mr.  Slack's  hands, 
or  which  came  into  his  keeping  afterwards,  the  letters 
acknowledging  the  debt  are  not  forthcoming.  Some 
forty  years  later  Mr.  Slack  showed  the  letters  to  Mr. 
W.  M.  Rossetti,  who  was  the  first  to  examine  and 
transcribe  them.1 

Among  the  few  contemporary  statements  of  Shelley's 
death,  the  following  appeared  in  the  Gentleman's 
Magazine  for  September  1822.  It  was  evidently 
written  by  someone  better  acquainted  with  the  facts 
of  the  poet's  death  than  with  his  work  and  aims. 


"July  8th. — Supposed  to  have  perished  at  sea  in  a 
Storm  somewhere  off  Via  Reggio  on  the  coast  of  Italy 
between  Leghorn  and  the  Gulf  of  Spezzia,  Percy 
Bysshe  Shelley,  Esq. 

"  He  went  out  a  sailing  in  a  little  schooner  in  company 
with  his  friend  Captain  Williams  son  of  Captain  John 

1  Mr.  D.  F.  MacCarthy,  in  his  Early  Life  of  Shelley,  1872,  made 
considerable  use  of  these  letters,  but  they  were  first  printed  fully  for 
private  circulation  in  1890  by  Mr.  T.  J.  Wise,  and  were  published  later, 
in  1908,  by  the  late  Mr.  Bertram  Dobell  with  an  interesting  introduction. 
The  letters  were  afterwards  included  in  the  present  writer's  edition  of 
Shelley's  correspondence,  1909,  after  collation  with  the  originals,  which 
made  it  possible  to  restore  some  passages  hitherto  unprinted.  On  the 
death  of  Mr.  Slack,  the  Shelley-Hitchener  letters  came  into  the  hands  of 
his  widow,  who  bequeathed  them  to  the  Rev.  Charles  Hargrove,  the 
husband  of  her  niece,  with  the  request  that  he  should  leave  the  letters 
to  the  British  Museum.  Mr.  Hargrove  did  not  keep  the  manuscripts  long 
in  his  possession,  but  generously  presented  them  to  the  Museum  in  1907. 


Shelley  in  England 

Williams  of  the  Hon.  East  India  Company  Bengal 
Infantry  and  lately  exchanged  from  the  8th  Dragoons 
to  the  2ist  Fusiliers.  He  had  been  to  Pisa  and  was 
returning  to  his  country  abode  at  Lerici.  The  boat 
has  since  been  found  capsized.  Mr.  Shelley  was  the 
eldest  son  of  Sir  Timothy  Shelley,  Bart.,  M.A.  of  Uni- 
versity College  Oxford  of  which  Society  his  son  was 
for  a  short  time  a  member.  He  married  a  daughter 
of  Mr.  Godwin  by  the  celebrated  Mary  Wolstonecraft 
and  was  an  intimate  friend  of  Lord  Byron  and  Mr. 
Leigh  Hunt.  The  wives  of  Mr.  Shelley  and  Mr.  Wil- 
liams were  both  at  Leghorn  overwhelmed  with  grief. 

"  Mr.  Shelley  is  unfortunately  too  well  known  for  his 
infamous  novels  and  poems.  He  openly  professed 
himself  an  Atheist.  His  works  bear  the  following 
titles  : — Prometheus  chained,  Alastor  or  the  spirit  of 
Solitude,  and  other  poems  1816,  Queen  Mob,  Cenci. 
It  has  been  stated  that  Mr.  Shelley  had  gone  to  Pisa 
to  establish  a  periodical  work  with  the  assistance  of 
Lord  Byron  and  Mr.  Leigh  Hunt." 

This  reference  to  the  memory  of  England's  greatest 
lyrical  poet  is  mild  compared  with  what  followed  in 
this  periodical,  which  claimed  to  represent  the  inter- 
ests of  gentlemen  and  to  voice  their  views.  Shortly 
after  the  appearance  of  the  obituary  notice  quoted 
above,  the  editor  of  the  Gentleman's  Magazine  seized 
an  opportunity  of  assailing  Shelley's  memory  in  re- 
viewing an  Elegy  on  his  death  by  John  Chalk  Claris, 
a  great  admirer  of  the  poet,  who  wrote  under  the 
pen-name  of  "  Arthur  Brooke/' 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

"  Mr.  Brooke,  an  enthusiastic  young  man  who  has 
written  some  good  but  licentious  verses,  has  here  got  up 
a  collection  of  stanzas  for  the  ostensible  purpose  '  of 
commemorating  the  talents  and  virtues  of  that  highly 
gifted  individual  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  '  (Preface). 

"  Concerning  the  talents  of  Mr.  Shelley  we  know  no 
more  than  that  he  published  certain  convulsive  caper- 
ings  of  Pegasus  labouring  under  cholic  pains  ;  namely 
some  purely  fantastic  verses  in  the  bubble  bubble  toil 
and  trouble  style,  and  as  to  Mr.  Shelley's  virtues,  if 
he  belonged  (as  we  understand  he  did)  to  a  junta, 
whose  writings  tend  to  make  our  sons  profligates,  and 
our  daughters  strumpets,  we  ought  as  justly  to  regret 
the  decease  of  the  Devil  (if  that  were  possible)  as  of 
one  of  his  coadjutors. 

"  Seriously  speaking  however  we  feel  no  pleasure  in 
the  untimely  death  of  this  Tyro  of  the  Juan  school, 
that  pre-eminent  academy  of  Infidels  Blasphemers 
Seducers  and  Wantons.  We  had  much  rather  have 
heard  that  he  and  the  rest  of  the  fraternity  had  been 
consigned  to  the  Monastery  of  La  Trappe  for  correc- 
tion of  their  dangerous  principles  and  expurgation  of 
their  corrupt  minds. 

"  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  is  a  fitter  subject  for  the 
penitentiary  dying  speech  than  a  lauding  elegy,  for 
a  muse  of  the  rope  rather  than  that  of  the  cypress  ; 
the  muse  that  advises  us  '  warning  to  take  by  others' 
harm  and  we  shall  do  well.'  ' 

If  these,  and  other  abusive  articles  on  the  poet,  were 
not  responsible  for  Sir  Timothy's  unfriendliness  to 
Mary  Shelley  and  her  little  boy,  they  no  doubt  helped 
to  embitter  him. 


Shelley  in  England 

But  to  return  to  Italy.  About  July  20th,  im- 
mediately the  fate  of  Shelley  and  Williams  was  known, 
Mary,  Jane  Williams,  and  Clare  were  taken  by  Tre- 
lawny  to  the  Hunts'  at  Pisa,  and  there  they  remained 
during  the  early  days  of  their  mourning.  Trelawny 
was  unceasing  in  his  efforts  to  help  and  comfort  them, 
and  Leigh  Hunt  and  his  wife  also  were  ever  ready  with 
their  sympathy  and  kind  attentions.  Shelley's  widow 
and  the  Hunts  having  agreed  to  settle  together  at  Genoa 
for  several  months,  Mary  set  out  from  Pisa  with  Jane 
Williams  for  that  place,  towards  the  middle  of  Sep- 
tember, in  order  to  seek  for  a  suitable  house.  She  had 
promised  at  the  same  time  to  find  a  house  for  Byron, 
and  she  took  for  him  the  Casa  Saluzzo  at  Albaro,  near 
Genoa,  and  the  Casa  Negroto  close  by  for  the  Hunts 
and  herself.  Clare  had  previously  left  Pisa  for  Vienna 
to  join  her  brother  Charles,  and  Mrs.  Williams  did 
not  remain  long  at  Genoa  ;  she  left  for  London  on 
September  lyth.  Consequently  Mary  remained  with 
her  boy  at  the  Hunts',  intending  also  to  return  to 
England,  but  realised  that,  when  she  was  able  to 
do  so,  she  could  not  reasonably  be  a  burden  on  her 

Mary  cherished  hopes  that  Sir  Timothy  would  help 
her  for  the  sake  of  her  boy,  but,  as  she  wrote  on 
September  iyth  to  Mrs.  Gisborne,  "  when  my  crowns 
are  gone,  if  Sir  Timothy  refuses,  I  hope  to  be  able 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

to  support  myself  by  my  writings  and  mine  own 
Shelley's  MSS." 

Byron,  who  at  length  arrived  at  Genoa,  had  been  very 
kind  to  Mary  at  Pisa,  where  he  had  visited  her  from 
week  to  week.  When  she  saw  him  again,  for  two  hours, 
after  an  absence  of  a  month,  the  sound  of  his  voice 
awakened  melancholy  thoughts  of  days  that  were  gone. 
It  carried  her  memory  back  to  the  visit  at  Geneva  in 
1816,  where,  at  the  Villa  Diodati,  she  had  listened  to 
long  conversations  between  him  and  Shelley ;  and  now, 
when  she  heard  Byron  speak,  she  listened,  as  it  were, 
in  expectation  of  hearing  the  other  voice  that  was  for 
ever  silenced. 

Byron's  character  was  a  strange  mixture  of  generosity 
and  meanness.  He  had  behaved  generously  to  Leigh 
Hunt  in  his  capacity  as  Editor  of  the  Liberal,  as  well 
as  to  John  Hunt  the  printer  of  that  ill-fated  magazine, 
by  making  to  it  several  notable  contributions.  It 
is  true  that  he  expected  to  obtain  profit  by  the 
venture,  but  having  given  it  his  support,  though  he 
soon  had  misgivings  as  to  its  chances  of  success,  he 
did  not  hesitate  to  carry  out  his  promise  liberally. 
Moreover,  after  a  coolness  with  Murray,  Byron  en- 
trusted to  John  Hunt  the  publication  of  Don  Juan 
from  Canto  VI.  to  the  end,  and  Hunt  henceforth 
published  anything  that  came  from  the  pen  of  the 
poet,  who  found  him  "  a  sensible,  plain,  sturdy,  en- 

561  2  N 

Shelley  in  England 

during  person."  l  Byron  sympathised  with  Mary ; 
as  the  friend  of  Shelley,  whose  death  he  sincerely 
lamented,  and  as  one  of  the  executors  of  the  poet's 
will,  he  was  anxious  to  help  her.  He  therefore  wrote 
to  his  solicitor,  John  Hanson,  saying  that  he  had  de- 
sired Godwin  to  see  him  with  regard  to  Shelley's 
affairs,  and  that  he  wished  Hanson  to  apply  to  Whitton 
on  behalf  of  Mrs.  Shelley  to  ascertain  if  any  provision 
had  been  made  for  her  and  her  son.  Byron  added  that 
he  presumed  that  the  last  quarter  of  the  allowance, 
due  on  September  ist,  would  be  paid,  and  he  desired 
Hanson's  opinion  of  Shelley's  will,  and  his  advice  as  to 
what  had  best  be  done  in  the  circumstances.  Hanson 
accordingly  wrote  to  Whitton  asking  for  an  interview. 
Whitton,  however,  who,  according  to  entries  in  his 
diary,  replied  to  Hanson  on  November  22nd,  and  wrote 
again  to  him  on  the  27th,  on  December  iyth  declined 
to  see  him,  and  Hanson  then  made  his  application 
by  letter  as  Whitton  had  requested.  Mary  wrote  to 
Clare  on  December  2oth  at  this  stage  of  the  negotiations, 
"  This  does  not  look  like  an  absolute  refusal,  but  Sir 
Timothy  is  so  capricious  that  we  cannot  trust  to 
appearances."  2  On  December  i8th  Sir  Timothy  had 
a  consultation  about  Hanson's  letters  and  Harriet's 
children  with  Whitton,  who  gave  his  advice  and  re- 

1  Byron  to  Moore,  April  2,  1823  ;  Prothero,  vol.  vi.  183. 
1  Life  and  Letters  of  Mary  W.  Shelley,  by  Mrs.  Julian  Marshall,  vol.  ii. 
p.  55- 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

ceived  Sir  Timothy's  instructions,  which  he  communi- 
cated two  days  later  to  Hanson.  The  decision  was 
apparently  unfavourable  to  Mary's  application,  as 
Byron  resolved  to  plead  her  cause  himself,  and  ad- 
dressed a  letter  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley.  It  was  one 
of  Byron's  generous  acts,  and  the  letter  is  an  inter- 
esting one  for  the  tribute  which  it  contains  to  his  lost 
friend.  The  letter  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
printed  before,  and  is  from  a  copy  among  the  Shelley- 
Whitton  papers. 

Lord  Byron  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

Jan.  7,  1823. 

SIR, — 1  trust  that  the  only  motive  of  this  letter  will 
be  sufficient  apology,  even  from  a  stranger — I  had 
the  honor  of  being  the  friend  of  the  late  Percy  B. 
Shelley,  and  am  still  actuated  by  the  same  regard  for 
his  memory  and  the  welfare  of  his  family — to  which 
I  beg  leave  to  add  my  respect  for  yourself  and  his 
connections.  My  Solicitor  lately  made  an  application 
to  Mr.  Whitton  a  gentleman  in  your  confidence,  in 
favor  of  Mr.  Shelley's  Widow  and  child  by  his  second 
marriage  both  being  left  by  his  untimely  death  entirely 

My  intimacy  with  your  late  son  and  the  circum- 
stances to  me  unknown  'till  after  his  decease — of  my 
being  named  one  of  the  Executors  in  a  will  which  he 
left  but  which  is  of  no  avail  at  present — and  may 
perhaps  be  always  unavailable — seemed  to  justify  this 
intrusion  through  a  third  person.  I  was  unwilling  to 


Shelley  in  England 

trouble  you  personally,  for  the  subject  is  very  painful 
to  my  feelings  and  must  be  still  more  so  to  yours — 
I  must  now,  however,  respectfully  submit  to  you,  the 
totally  destitute  state  of  your  daughter-in-law  and  her 
child,  and  I  would  venture  to  add — that  neither  are 
unworthy  your  protection.  Their  wishes  are  by  no 
means  extravagant,  a  simple  provision  to  prevent 
them  from  absolute  want  now  staring  them  in  the  face 
is  all  that  they  seek — and  where  can  they  look  for  it 
with  propriety — or  accept  it  without  bitterness — • 
except  from  yourself  ? 

I  am  not  sufficiently  aware  of  Mr.  Shelley's  family 
affairs  to  know  on  what  terms  he  stood  with  his  family, 
nor  if  I  were  so  should  I  presume  to  address  you  on 
that  subject.  But  he  is  in  his  grave — he  was  your 
Son — and  whatever  his  errors  and  opinions  may  have 
been — they  were  redeemed  by  many  good  and  noble 

Might  I  hope,  Sir,  that  by  casting  an  eye  of  kindness 
on  his  relict  and  her  boy  it  would  be  a  comfort  to  them 
— it  would  one  day  be  a  comfort  to  yourself,  for  if 
ever  he  had  been  so  unfortunate  as  to  offend  you, 
they  are  innocent ;  but  I  will  not  urge  the  topic  further 
and  am  far  more  willing  to  trust  to  your  own  feelings 
and  judgment,  than  to  any  appeal  which  may  be  made 
to  them  by  others. 

Mrs.  Shelley  is  for  the  present  residing  near  Genoa— 
indeed  she  has  not  the  means  of  taking  a  journey  to 
England — nor  of  remaining  where  she  is  without  some 
assistance.  That  this  should  be  derived  from  other 
sources  than  your  protection,  would  be  humiliating 
to  you  and  to  her — but  she  has  still  hopes  from  your 
kindness — let  me  add  from  your  Justice  to  her  and  to 
your  Grandchild. 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

1  beg  leave  to  renew  my  apology  for  intruding  upon 
you,  which  nothing  but  the  necessity  of  so  doing  would 
have  induced,  and  have  the  honor  to  be, 
Your  most  obedient, 

Very  humble  Servant, 


To  SIR  T.  SHELLEY,  Bart., 
etc.,  etc. 

Sir  Timothy  sent  Byron's  letter  to  Whitton,  with  an 
intimation  that  he  thought  of  allowing  Mary  a  sum 
of  £160  a  year.1  Whitton  considered  this  proposal, 
wrote  several  letters  to  his  client,  and,  finally,  had  a 
consultation  with  Sir  Timothy,  on  February  4th,  after 
he  had  received  from  John  Hanson  certificates  of  the 
marriage  of  Shelley  with  Mary  Godwin  and  of  the 
baptism  of  their  son  Percy  Florence.  The  result  of 
this  conference  was  that  Whitton  prepared  for  Sir 
Timothy  a  reply  to  Byron's  letter,  in  the  light  of  a 
short  abstract  of  the  poet's  will  supplied  by  Hanson 
on  February  4th,  which  letter  he  carefully  read  over 
to  the  baronet  on  the  following  day.  Mrs.  Marshall 
printed  Sir  Timothy's  reply  in  her  Life  of  Mary  Shelley, 
but  the  following  is  given  from  the  draft  among  the 
Shelley-Whitton  papers,  which  bears  some  alterations 
in  Whitton's  handwriting,  though  the  two  copies  are 
practically  identical. 

1  Whitton's  diary,  January  29,  1823. 


Shelley  in  England 

Sir  Timothy  Shelley  to  Lord  Byron 


Feb.  6,  1823. 

MY  LORD, — I  have  received  your  Lordship's  letter, 
and  my  Solicitor  Mr.  Whitton  has  this  day  shewn  to 
me  copies  oi  certificates  of  the  marriage  of  Mrs.  Shelley 
and  of  the  baptism  of  her  little  boy  and  also  a  short 
Abstract  of  my  son's  Will  as  the  same  have  been 
handed  to  him  by  Mr.  Hanson. 

The  mind  of  my  son  was  withdrawn  from  me  and 
my  immediate  family  by  unworthy  and  interested 
individuals  when  he  was  about  nineteen,  and  after  a 
while  he  was  led  into  a  new  Society  and  forsook  his 
first  associates.  In  this  new  Society  he  forgot  every 
feeling  of  duty  and  respect  to  me  and  to  Lady  Shelley. 
Mrs.  Shelley  was,  I  have  been  told,  the  intimate  friend 
of  my  son  in  the  lifetime  of  his  first  wife  and  to  the 
time  of  her  death,  and  in  no  small  degree  as  I  suspect 
estranged  my  son's  mind  from  his  family  and  all  his 
first  duties  in  life.  With  that  impression  on  my  mind 
I  cannot  agree  with  your  Lordship  that  tho'  my  son 
was  most  unfortunate  that  Mrs.  Shelley  is  innocent — 
on  the  contrary  I  think  that  her  conduct  was  the 
very  reverse  of  what  it  ought  to  have  been  and  I  must 
therefore  decline  all  interference  in  matters  in  which 
Mrs.  Shelley  is  interested.  As  to  the  child  I  am  in- 
clined to  afford  the  means  of  a  suitable  protection  and 
care  of  him  in  this  country  :  if  he  shall  be  placed 
with  a  person  I  shall  approve. 

But  your  Lordship  will  allow  me  to  say  that  the 
means  I  can  furnish  will  be  limited  as  I  have  important 
duties  to  perform  towards  others  which  I  cannot  for- 
get— I  have  thus  plainly  told  your  Lordship  my  de- 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

termination  in  the  hope  that  I  may  be  spared  from  all 
further  correspondence  on  a  subject  so  distressing  to 
me  and  my  family. 

With  respect  to  the  Will  and  certificates  I  have  no 
observations  to  make.  I  have  left  them  with  Mr. 
Whitton,  and  if  anything  is  necessary  to  be  done  with 
them  on  my  part  he  will  I  am  sure  do  it. 

I  have  the  Honor,  my  Lord,  to  be  your  Lordship's 
most  obedient  humble  servant, 


While  Mary  was  waiting  to  hear  the  result  of  Byron's 
application  to  Sir  Timothy  she  received  a  letter  from 
her  faithful  and  trusty  friend  Trelawny.  He  wrote  : 
"  There  is  not  one  now  living  has  so  tender  a  friend- 
ship for  you  as  I  have.  I  have  the  far  greater 
claims  on  you,  and  I  shall  consider  it  as  a  breach  of 
friendship  should  you  employ  any  one  else  in  services 
that  I  can  execute. 

"'  My  purse,  my  person,  my  extremest  means 
Lye  all  unlocked  to  your  occasion.' 

I  hope  you  know  my  heart  so  well  as  to  make  all 
professions  needless." 

Mary  was  touched  by  this  expression  of  friendship, 
which  subsequently  on  Trelawny's  part  developed  into 
something  warmer,  and  she  wrote  in  reply,  on  January 
20th,  that  she  believed  he  was  the  best  friend  she  had, 
and  that  most  truly  would  she  rather  apply  to  him 
than  to  anyone  else.  But  she  considered  for  the 


Shelley  in  England 

present  she  was  well  off,  having  received  £33  from  the 
Liberal,  besides  still  possessing  a  considerable  residue 
of  the  money  that  she  had  brought  from  Pisa.  She 
had  enough  to  spare  some  for  Clare.  She  added  : 
"  Lord  Byron  continues  kind  :  he  has  made  frequent 
offers  of  money.  I  do  not  want  it  as  you  see." 

Mary  was  naturally  indignant  at  the  proposal  of 
her  father-in-law,  whose  letter  plainly  showed,  she 
said,  in  writing  to  Byron,  by  what  mean  principles 
Sir  Timothy  would  be  actuated  in  not  offering  her 
little  boy  "  an  asylum  in  his  own  house,  but  a  beggarly 
provision  under  the  care  of  a  stranger. "  She  declared 
that,  separated  from  the  child,  she  should  not  survive 
ten  days,  though  the  sacrifice  would  be  easy  if  it  were 
necessary  to  die  for  his  benefit.  But  the  child  was 
delicate,  and  required  all  his  mother's  love  and  solici- 
tude, and  she  would  never  -consent  to  part  with  him. 
Godwin,  who  saw  a  copy  of  Sir  Timothy's  letter,  con- 
sidered that  there  was  no  need  for  him  to  counsel  her 
to  reject  her  father-in-law's  proposition.  It  was  a 
bitter  blow  to  her  expectations,  and  she  soon  realised 
that,  stranded  as  she  was  in  a  foreign  country  without 
resources,  it  was  expedient  that  she  should  return  to 
England  with  as  little  delay  as  possible.  Mary  made 
her  preparations,  and  on  June  gth  she  told  Byron  that 
she  was  ready  to  depart,  and  he  promised  to  provide 
her  with  money  and  to  make  himself  the  necessary 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

arrangements  for  the  journey  ;  but  he  kept  her  wait- 
ing, and  then  chose  to  transact  the  negotiations  through 
Leigh  Hunt.  Mary  related  these  details  to  Jane 
Williams  in  a  letter  dated  July  1823,  an(i  sa<id  that 
Byron  "  gave  such  an  air  of  unwillingness  and  sense 
of  the  obligation  he  conferred,  as  at  last  provoked 
Hunt  to  say  that  there  was  no  obligation,  since  he 
owed  me  £1000."  She  added  that  while  Byron  was 
"  still  keeping  up  an  appearance  of  amity  with  Hunt, 
he  had  written  notes  and  letters  so  full  of  contempt 
against  me  and  my  lost  Shelley  that  I  could  stand  it  no 
longer,  and  have  refused  to  receive  his  still  proffered 
aid  for  my  journey."  Mary,  who  was  an  inexperi- 
enced girl,  not  twenty-four  when  she  was  widowed, 
being  unaccustomed  to  decide  for  herself,  had  out- 
worn Byron's  patience  by  the  incertitude  of  her  plans. 
Perhaps  he  was  vexed  when  she  showed  some  irrita- 
tion at  the  failure  of  Byron's  appeal  to  Sir  Timothy  ; 
at  any  rate  he  was  out  of  humour  with  her,  and  he 
did  not  disguise  it  in  the  letter  which  follows. 

Lord  Byron  to  Leigh  Hunt 

June  28,  1823. 

DEAR  H., — I  have  received  a  note  from  Mrs.  S. 
with  a  fifth  or  sixth  change  of  plan,  viz.  not  to  make 
her  journey  at  all,  at  least  through  my  assistance  on 
account  of  what  she  is  pleased  to  call  "  estrangement, 
etc."  On  this  I  have  little  to  say.  The  readiest 
mode  now  may  be  this,  which  can  be  settled  between 


Shelley  in  England 

you  and  me  without  her  knowing  anything  of  the 

I  will  advance  the  money  to  you  (I  desired  Mr. 
Kprkup] *  to  say  what  would  enable  her  to  travel 
"  handsomely  and  conveniently  in  all  respects  "  these 
were  the  words  of  my  note  this  afternoon  to  him)  on 
Monday — you  can  then  say  that  you  have  raised  it 
as  a  loan  on  your  own  account — no  matter  with  whom 
or  how — and  that  you  advance  it  to  her — which  may 
easily  be  made  the  fact  if  you  feel  scrupulous  by  giving 
me  a  scrap  of  paper  as  your  note  of  hand — thus  she  will 
be  spared  any  fancied  humiliation.  I  am  not  aware 
of  anything  in  the  transaction  which  can  render  it 
obnoxious  to  yourself — at  least  I  am  sure  that  there 
is  no  such  intention  on  my  part — nor  ever  was  in 
anything  which  had  passed  between  us — although 
there  are  circumstances  so  plausible — and  scoundrels 
so  ready  in  every  corner  of  the  earth  to  give  a  colour 
of  their  own  to  everything — the  last  observation  is 
dictated  by  what  you  told  me  to-day  to  my  utter 
astonishment — it  will  however  teach  me  to  know 
my  company  better  or  not  at  all. 

And  now  pray — do  not  apply  or  misapply  directly 
or  indirectly  to  yourself  any  of  these  observations. 

I  knew  you  long  before  Mr.  S.  knew  either  you  or 
me — and  you  and  two  more  of  his  friends  are  the 
only  ones  whom  I  can  at  all  reflect  upon  as  men  whose 
acquaintance  was  honourable  and  agreeable.  I  have 

1  Seymour  Kirkup  was  among  those  present  at  Shelley's  funeral,  on 
January  21,  1823,  when  his  ashes  were  laid  in  the  Protestant  Cemetery  at 
Rome.  He  was  a  friend  of  Trelawny,  who  described  him  as  "an  artist  of 
superior  taste,"  and  he  drew  his  portrait,  which  will  be  found  in  the 
Recollections  of  Shelley  and  Byron,  1858.  Kirkup  seems  to  have  spent 
the  best  part  of  his  life  in  Florence,  where  he  was  living  in  1870,  at  the 
age  of  82.  See  Trelawny's  Letters,  edited  by  Mr.  H.  Buxton  Forman. 


The  Paradise  of  Exiles 

one  more  thing  to  state — which  is  that  from  this  mo- 
ment I  must  decline  the  office  of  acting  as  his  executor 
in  any  respect,  and  also  all  further  connection  with 
his  family  in  any  of  its  branches — now  or  hereafter. 

There  was  something  about  a  legacy  of  two  thousand 
pounds — which  he  had  left  me — this  of  course  I  decline 
and  the  more  so  that  I  hear — that  his  will  is  admitted 
valid  :  and  I  state  this  distinctly — that  in  case  of 
anything  happening  to  me — my  heirs  may  be  instructed 
not  to  claim  it. 

Yours  ever  and  truly,  N.  B. 

P.S. — I  enclose  you  Mr.  K/s  answer  just  received 
to  my  note  of  this  afternoon. 

On  July  23rd,  two  days  before  Mary  quitted  Genoa 
for  England,  she  wrote  to  Mrs.  Williams  that  Lord 
Byron,  Trelawny,  and  Pierino  Gambo  had  sailed  for 
Greece  on  July  17 th.  She  did  not  see  Byron  before 
he  left.  "  His  unconquerable  avarice,"  she  said, 
"  prevented  his  supplying  me  with  money,  and  a 
remnant  of  shame  caused  him  to  avoid  me.  ...  If 
he  were  mean,  Trelawny  more  than  balanced  the 
moral  account.  His  whole  conduct  during  his  last 
stay  here  has  impressed  us  all  with  an  affectionate 
regard,  and  a  perfect  faith  in  the  unalterable  goodness 
of  his  heart.  They  sailed  together ;  Lord  Byron  with 
£10,000,  Trelawny  with  £50,  and  Lord  Byron  cowering 
before  his  eye  for  reasons  you  shall  hear  soon."  Poor 
as  Trelawfiy  was,  he  willingly  lent  Mary  a  sum  to  help 
her  to  defray  the  expenses  of  her  homeward  journey. 




Mary's  return  to  London — Frankenstein  on  the  stage — Mary  and 
Sir  Timothy — Shelley's  Posthumous  Poems — Their  suppression — 
Mary's  allowance — John  Shelley's  marriage — Mary's  negotiations 
with  Sir  Timothy — Her  visit  to  Paris — Her  illness — Percy  Florence 
Shelley  and  his  grandfather — False  rumours  of  Mary's  marriage — 
Trelawny's  suit  rejected — Mary's  Wednesday  evenings — Death  of 
William  Godwin  the  younger — Godwin's  death — His  will — Percy 
at  Harrow — And  at  Cambridge — Shelley's  collected  Poems  and 
Essays — Mary  and  her  son  on  the  Continent — Mary's  death — 
Characteristics  of  Sir  Percy  Shelley — His  death. 

THERE  was  nothing  now  to  detain  Mary  in  Italy  ; 
indeed  it  was  expedient  that  she  should  return  to 
England  and  endeavour  to  obtain  from  Sir  Timothy  an 
allowance  for  herself  and  Percy.  On  August  25,  1823, 
she  was  in  London  under  the  roof  of  her  father's  house 
in  the  Strand,  and  on  the  2gth  Godwin  took  her,  with 
her  step-brother  William,  and  Mrs.  Williams,  to  the 
English  Opera  House  to  witness  a  dramatic  performance 
of  her  novel  Frankenstein.  Godwin  had  been  prompted, 
by  the  appearance  of  this  play,  to  get  published  for 
Mary's  benefit  a  new  edition1  of  her  novel,  as  he 

1  Frankenstein;  or,  The  Modern  Prometheus,  by  Mary  Wollstonecraft 
Shelley.  In  two  volumes,  a  new  edition.  London  :  Printed  for  G.  &  W. 
B.  Whittaker,  Ave  Maria  Lane,  1823.  The  first  edition  of  this  book, 
in  three  volumes,  was  published  without  the  author's  name,  but  it  con- 
tained a  dedication  to  Godwin  which  was  omitted  from  this  reprint. 



despaired  of  Sir  Timothy  doing  anything  for  her. 
She  wrote,  however,  to  her  father-in-law  and  Lady 
Shelley  on  her  arrival  in  England,  and  Sir  Timothy 
sent  the  letter  to  Whit  ton.  The  lawyer  advised,  in 
a  letter  dated  September  ist,  that  Sir  Timothy  should 
reply  by  referring  Mary  to  his  letter  to  Byron  as  con- 
taining his  explanation  of  all  that  he  intended  to  do, 
and  that  his  feelings  would  not  permit  him  to  corre- 
spond further  on  the  subject.  Whitton  thought  that 
such  a  letter  would  quiet  his  client  and  induce  Mary 
to  desist  from  further  troubling  him  or  Lady  Shelley. 
Sir  Timothy,  however,  did  not  fall  in  with  Whitton's 
suggestion  that  he  should  answer  Mary's  letter,  and 
Whitton  therefore  wrote  to  her  on  September  3rd. 
He  told  her  that  she  was  acquainted  with  Sir  Timothy's 
general  sentiments,  and  that  he  did  "  not  think  it 
proper  to  vary  or  alter  that  determination  which  he 
has  already  stated."  Whitton  also  informed  Mary 
that,  when  she  had  placed  her  son  in  that  situation 
which  she  considered  desirable  for  him,  if  she  would 
send  him  particulars  he  would  inquire  of  Sir  Timothy 
what  proportion  he  would  be  prepared  to  pay  of  the 
expenses."  As  Whitton  was  leaving  town,  he  said  that 
he  would  see  Mrs.  Shelley  that  day. 

Mary  accordingly,  accompanied  by  her  father  and 
her  little  boy,  called  on  Whitton,  and,  describing  the 
interview  in  a  letter  to  Hunt,  she  said  that  the  lawyer 


Shelley  in  England 

"  was  very  polite  though  long-winded  ;  his  great  wish 
seemed  to  be  to  prevent  me  from  applying  again  jto 
Sir  Timothy,  whom  he  represented  as  old,  infirm  and 
irritable.  However,  he  advanced  me  -£100  for  my 
immediate  expenses,  told  me  that  he  could  not  speak 
positively  until  he  had  seen  Sir  T.  Shelley,  but  he 
doubted  not  that  I  should  receive  the  same  sum  annu- 
ally for  my  child,  and  with  a  little  time  and  patience 
I  should  get  an  allowance  for  myself/'  Whitton 
wrote  a  long  letter  to  Sir  Timothy,  in  which  he  gave 
an  account  of  the  conversation  that  he  had  had  with 
Mary  and  her  father,  and  he  stated  that  he  made  the 
advance  to  her  as  he  realised  that,  as  she  was  wholly 
without  money,  and  her  father  not  being  in  a  posi- 
tion to  assist  her,  without  some  present  aid  she  could 
not  keep  herself  without  great  distress ;  that  he 
thought  Sir  Timothy  might  allow  a  sum  not  very 
short  of  £100  a  year  for  the  child,  but  that  she  was 
not  to  look  forward  to  support  from  that  quarter. 
Mary  seems  to  have  construed  Whitton's  remarks 
otherwise ;  she  expected  that  her  father-in-law  would 
make  her  an  adequate  provision.  Peacock  saw  Whitton 
on  November  6th,  and  stated  that  Mrs.  Shelley  had 
written  to  him  saying  that  she  expected  an  allowance 
of  £300  a  year,  to  which  statement  Whitton  declared 
that  it  was  Sir  Timothy's  intention  not  to  allow  her 
sixpence  beyond  what  was  necessary  for  her  child. 



It  was,  however,  arranged  by  Whitton,  in  an  inter- 
view with  Peacock  some  three  weeks  later,  that  Mary 
should  receive  an  allowance  of  £100  a  year  from  Sep- 
tember ist  preceding.  But  Mary,  remembering  her 
conversation  with  Whitton,  still  hoped  that  this  allow- 
ance would  be  augmented,  and  after  some  months  of 
suspense  she  must  have  written  to  him  on  the  subject, 
in  June  1824,  as  the  lawyer  replied  to  her  on  the  I4th 
of  that  month  that  it  concerned  him  very  much  that 
even  his  most  guarded  expressions  should  have  pro- 
duced a  feeling  of  expectation  on  her  part.  He 
pointed  out  to  her  that,  as  under  her  late  husband's 
will  she  had  an  important  expectant  interest  in  part 
of  the  settled  estates,  she  thus  possessed  a  resource 
beyond  and  independently  of  the  allowance  made  by 
Sir  Timothy  for  Percy's  maintenance.  He  thought 
it  right  to  refer  her  to  the  consideration  of  that  sub- 
ject, as  she  might  thereby  provide  for  herself  all  that 
she  now  required.  Peacock  called  on  Whitton  to  ask 
lor  an  explanation  of  that  part  of  his  letter  to  Mrs. 
Shelley  which  referred  her  to  her  own  means  for 
obtaining  a  support.  Whitton  gave  him  no  encourage- 
ment to  expect  that  Sir  Timothy  would  take  a  grant 
from  Mary  of  a  part  of  her  expectant  right  in  considera- 
tion of  an  annuity,  but  the  lawyer  agreed  to  ascertain, 
in  the  circumstances,  the  value  of  an  annuity  of 
£300  per  annum  during  the  joint  lives.  Mary  Shelley 


Shelley  in  England 

was  led  by  this  inquiry  to  conclude  that  some  satis- 
factory arrangement  would  result,  as  she  wrote  to 
Trelawny  on  July  28th  :  "  My  prospects  are  somewhat 
brighter  than  they  were.  I  have  little  doubt  but  that 
in  the  course  of  a  few  months  I  shall  have  an  inde- 
pendent income  of  £300  to  £400  per  annum  during 
Sir  Timothy's  life,  and  that  with  small  sacrifice 
on  my  part.  After  his  death  Shelley's  will  secures 
me  an  income  more  than  sufficient  for  my  simple 

Soon  after  Shelley's  death,  when  Mary  was  at  Albaro, 
she  applied  herself  to  the  task  of  going  over  his  manu- 
scripts and  transcribing  them  preparatory  to  issuing 
a  collection  of  his  unpublished  poems.  When  she  was 
nearing  the  completion  of  her  task,  she  must  have 
experienced  a  difficulty  in  finding  a  publisher  willing 
to  undertake  to  print  the  book  at  his  own  risk.  The 
Olliers,  who  had  issued  Shelley's  poems  at  the  author's 
charges,  had  stated  that  "  the  sale,  in  every  instance, 
of  Mr.  Shelley's  works  has  been  very  confined."  The 
original  editions  of  his  works  were,  at  the  time,  a  drug 
in  the  market,  and  the  London  publishers  showed  no 
eagerness  to  publish  his  Posthumous  Poems.  A  plan 
at  length  was  found  to  induce  John  Hunt  to  issue  the 
book.  The  sale  of  250  copies  was  guaranteed  by  three 
admirers  of  Shelley's  poetry — namely,  Thomas  Lovell 
Beddoes  ;  Bryan  Waller  Procter,  otherwise  "  Barry 



Cornwall "  ;  and  Thomas  Forbes  Kelsall — none  of  whom 
appear  to  have  known  the  poet  personally.  The  pub- 
lisher decided  to  print  500  copies  of  the  volume,  as 
he  said  that  a  smaller  number  would  not  pay  for 
printing  and  advertisements,  much  less  yield  any 
profit  for  Mrs.  Shelley.  A  portrait  was  to  have  been 
added  as  a  frontispiece  to  the  book,  but  Mrs.  Williams 
had  mislaid  a  sketch  of  the  poet,  which  Mary  Shelley 
had  lent  her,  until  it  was  too  late  to  use  it.1  It  was 
originally  intended  to  include  in  the  volume  a  selection 
from  Shelley's  prose  writings,  including  some  letters 
from  Italy,  besides  his  translation  of  the  Symposium 
and  Ion  of  Plato,  but  Mary  stated  in  her  preface 
to  the  book  (dated  June  i,  1824)  that  the  size  of 
the  collection  had  prevented  the  insertion  of  any 
prose  pieces,  which  would  appear  in  a  separate 

1  See  the  Poems  of  T.   L.  Beddoes,   1851,  edited  by  T.  F.  Kelsall, 
Memoir,  vol.  i.  p.  xxiii. ;  also  The  Letters  of  T.  L.  Beddoes,  1894,  edited 
by  Edmund  Gosse,  p.  I  et  seq.,  p.  264. 

2  In  an  advertisement,  dated  December   1823,  and  printed  at  the  end 
of  Don  Juan,  Cantos  XII-XIV,    1823,  of  John    Hunt's    publications, 
among  "  works  preparing  for  publication  "  is  the  announcement : 

"In  one  vol.  8vo.  The  Posthumous  Works  of  the  late  Percy  B. 
Shelley,  Esq.  Containing :  The  Witch  of  Atlas  ;  Julian  and  Maddalo  ; 
Triumph  of  Life ;  Alastor,  or  the  Spirit  of  Solitude.  Translations : — 
The  Cyclop,  a  Silenic  Drama  from  Eurypides  [sic]  ;  Homer's  Hymn  to 
Mercury ;  The  Symposium  and  Ion  of  Plato,  &c.  Letters  from  Italy  ; 
and  smaller  poems."  In  the  next  volume  of  Don  Juan,  Canto  XV-XVI, 
1824,  the  advertisement,  dated  March  1824,  again  appears  among  works 
in  preparation,  but  "Letters  from  Italy"  and  "The  Symposium"  are 
omitted,  and  "  From  the  Faust  of  Goethe"  [sic]  is  added. 

577  2  o 

Shelley  in   England 

The  book  on  the  whole  was  received  favourably  by 
the  reviewers,  who  were  forced,  though  sometimes 
unwillingly,  to  admit  that  it  contained  proofs  of 
Shelley's  unmatched  gift  of  song.  The  Quarterly, 
Hazlitt  in  the  Edinburgh,  and  "  Christopher  North  " 
in  Black-wood,,  were  agreed  in  praising  the  book,  but 
the  writer  of  a  long  review  which  appeared  in  the 
number  for  August  1823  of  that  little  known,  but  very 
interesting,  publication,  Knight's  Quarterly  Magazine, 
showed  that  he  was  well  acquainted  with  Shelley's 
poetry,  from  Queen  Mob  to  Adonais,  and  had  followed 
the  criticisms  which  had  been  meted  out  to  it  in  the 
past.  He  said  : 

"Amidst  the  crowd  of  feeble  and  tawdry  writers 
with  which  we  are  surrounded,  tantalizing  us  with  a 
mere  shew  of  power,  and  rendering  their  native  bald- 
ness more  disgusting  by  the  exaggerations  and  dis- 
tortions with  which  they  attempt  to  hide  it,  it  is 
refreshing  to  meet  with  a  work  upon  which  the  genuine 
mark  of  intellectual  greatness  is  stamped.  Here  are 
no  misgivings,  no  chilling  doubts,  no  reasoning  with 
ourselves  as  to  the  grounds  of  our  temporary  admira- 
tion ;  no  comparison  of  canons,  no  reference  to 
criterions  of  beauty.  We  feel  ourselves  raised  above 
criticism,  to  that  of  which  criticism  is  only  the  shadow  ; 
we  perceive  that  it  is  from  sources  like  these  that 
her  rules,  even  where  true,  are  exclusively  derived, 
servants  that  know  not  their  master's  will, — and  we 
feel  that  we  have  no  need  of  them,  when  all  that  they 



could  teach  presents  itself  to  us  by  intuition.  It  is 
a  reviving  feeling — a  sense  of  deliverance  and  of 
exaltation ;  we  are  emancipated  from  the  minute  and 
narrowing  restraints  to  which  an  habitual  intercourse 
with  petty  prejudices  almost  insensibly  subjects  us  ; 
we  breathe  freely  in  the  open  air  of  enlarged  thought ; 
and  we  deem  ourselves  ennobled  by  our  relation  to  a 
superior  mind,  and  by  the  sense  of  our  own  capabilities 
which  its  grand  conceptions  awaken  in  us." 

The  writer  then  went  on  to  examine  the  charges 
that  had  been  made  against  Shelley  and  his  poetry. 
"  We  are  a  review-and-newspaper-ridden  people," 
he  said,  "  and,  while  we  contend  clamorously  for  the 
right  of  thinking  for  ourselves,  we  yet  guide  ourselves 
unconsciously  by  the  opinion  of  censors  whom  we  know 
to  be  partial  and  incompetent."  The  feeling  against 
Shelley  was  not  merely  because  he  had  erred,  but 
because  his  errors  were  unpopular  and  he  had  never 
attempted  to  disguise  his  opinions  or  to  mask  them 
"  under  a  decent  guise  of  conformity."  The  article 
concludes  with  several  pages  of  extracts  from  the 
poems,  and  is  followed  by  a  lively  dialogue  between 
the  contributors,  at  the  anniversary  gathering  of  the 
magazine,  on  the  merits  of  Shelley's  poetry,  on  Mrs. 
Shelley's  Frankenstein,  and  her  then  recently  published 
novel  Valperga.  The  author  of  the  article  disguised 
his  identity  under  the  pseudonym  of  "  Edward 
Haselfoot,"  but  the  magazine  counted  among  its 


Shelley  in   England 

contributors  Macaulay,  Praed,  and  Moultrie,  and 
it  may  have  been  written  by  one  of  the  two  last 

The  volume  of  Shelley's  Posthumous  Poems  had  not 
been  long  in  circulation  before  Sir  Timothy  wrote  to 
Whitton    about    it.     He    had    attempted    during    his 
son's   lifetime   to   restrain   him   from   publishing   his 
works  and  had  failed,   but,  now  that  Mary  Shelley 
was  dependent  on  him  for  supplies,  it  was  an  easy 
matter  to  threaten  to  stop  her  allowance  unless  she 
at   once  withdrew  the  circulation   of  her   husband's 
poems.     Whitton  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy,  on  July  24, 
1824,  that  he  had  seen  Mr.  Peacock,  and  that  he  had 
had  a  very  long  and  particular  conversation  with  him 
on  the  subject  of  "  the  publications."     Peacock  re- 
marked that  he  was  ignorant  of  Mary's  intention  to 
publish,  and  that  had  he  known  it  he  would  have  used 
his  endeavours  to  prevent  it.     He  had  heard  that  she, 
or,  rather,  her  father,  was  about  to  publish  some  prose 
writings  (apparently  of  Shelley's),  and  Whitton,  who 
intimated  to  him  that  such  conduct  had  been  very 
offensive  to  Sir  Timothy's  feelings,  conceived  that  the 
baronet  would  regard  "  any  further  publication  of  the 
writings  as  intended  to  annoy  "  him  and  his  family. 
Whereupon  Peacock  said  that  he  would  endeavour  to 
prevent  it,  and  a  few  days  later  he  again  saw  Whitton, 
who  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy  on  August  5th  as  follows  : 


W.  Whitton  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 


Augt.  5,  1824. 

DEAR  SIR  TIMOTHY, — The  day  after  I  had  the 
pleasure  of  seeing  you  I  saw  Mr.  Peacock,  and  I  com- 
municated with  him  very  fully  as  to  the  publication 
of  the  Poetry  and  the  proposed  publication  of  the 
prose  parts  of  Mr.  Shelley's  writings,  and  having  pointed 
out  to  him  how  much  such  Publications  pressed  on 
the  feelings  of  yourself  and  your  family,  he  ex- 
pressed to  me  his  great  regret  that  the  publication 
had  ever  taken  place,  and  that  having  seen  Mrs.  Shelley 
she  had  authorised  him  to  take  any  course  he  might 
think  proper  to  get  in  the  copies  of  the  Book  then 
under  publication  and  his  only  difficulty  was  the 
expense  which  had  been  incurred  in  the  publication ; 
and  I  therefore  proposed  to  him  that  1  would  make 
payment  of  the  amount  supposing  the  same  did  not 
exceed  £100.  Mr.  Peacock  intimated  to  me  that  the 
bargain  for  the  publication  had  been  that  Mrs.  Shelley 
was  to  receive  any  profits  that  should  arise  beyond  the 
expenses  of  publication,  and  I  had  reason  to  under- 
stand that  700  of  the  Books  had  been  printed.  This 
morning  Mr.  Peacock  again  called  on  me  and  stated 
that  in  consequence  of  what  had  previously  passed 
the  Advertizements  had  ceased,  that  500  only  of  the 
Books  had  been  printed,  of  which  about  300  had  been 
sold,  the  price  for  which  had  cleared  the  expenses  and 
advertisements,  that  about  30  were  in  the  hands  of 
Booksellers  at  Edinburgh  and  Dublin  which  he  would 
immediately  cause  to  be  recalled,  and  the  remaining 
170  he  proposed  to  send  to  me  ;  there  are  about  7  in 
the  hands  of  Booksellers  in  different  parts  of  the  Town 


Shelley   in   England 

which  we  thought  it  would  not  be  prudent  to  apply 
for.  Upon  consideration  I  deemed  it  would  be  more 
expedient,  and  I  therefore  stipulated  with  Mr.  Peacock 
that  the  170  Volumes  and  the  manuscript  of  the  Work 
as  well  as  the  Manuscript  of  the  prose  writings  should 
be  placed  in  his  hands  as  a  more  perfect  means  of 
satisfaction  to  you  and  your  family,  and  this  he  pro- 
mised me  should  be  immediately  done.  I  was  the 
more  desirous  that  Mr.  Peacock  should  be  charged 
with  the  care  of  the  printed  Books  and  the  two  Manu- 
scripts rather  than  the  Books  should  be  sent  to  me 
and  the  manuscripts  left  in  the  hands  of  indifferent 
persons.  In  this  way  I  hope  a  continuance  of  annoy- 
ance to  you  will  be  avoided.  The  check  you  sent 
me  dated  the  17  of  June,  1824,  f°r  £5°  I  did  not  use 
in  the  way  you  pointed  out  for  the  benefit  of  Mrs. 
Shelley,  and  I  now  return  it  to  you  cancelled.  Mr. 
Peacock  stated  to  me  that  Mrs.  Shelley  had  mis- 
apprehended the  arrangements  as  to  the  payments 
to  her,  that  she  was  greatly  inconvenienced  for  the 
want  of  money.  I  therefore  paid  her  £50  for  the  ist 
of  Sept.  by  anticipation.  When  you  have  reflected 
on  the  circumstances  now  communicated  and  con- 
sidered the  subject  with  Lady  Shelley  and  your  family 
you  will  be  pleased  to  let  me  know  what  you  intend 
doing.  I  mentioned  to  Mr.  Peacock  about  the  Edu- 
cation of  the  little  Boy,  and  he  expressed  his  great 
readiness  to  assist  in  inducing  Mrs.  Shelley  to  do 
what  may  be  right  in  the  occasion,  he  agreeing  with 
me  that  a  Godwin  education  must  be  altogether 

Yours  Dr.  Sir  Timothy, 

Very  faithfully, 




Mrs.  Shelley  must  have  parted  reluctantly  with 
Shelley's  original  manuscripts,  but  it  was  expedient 
to  comply  with  Sir  Timothy's  demands,  and  the 
papers  only  passed  into  the  custody  of  her  friend 
Peacock.  Of  what  exactly  the  manuscripts  comprised 
does  not  appear  from  Peacock's  letter  that  follows. 
The  translations  from  Plato  remained  unprinted  till 
the  year  1840,  when  they  appeared  in  Mary  Shelley's 
collection  of  Shelley's  Essays  and  Letters  from  Abroad. 

T.  L.  Peacock  to  W.  Whitton 

Aug.  18,  1824. 

MY  DEAR  SIR, — I  have  received  from  Mrs.  Shelley 
the  original  MSS.  which  were  to  have  composed  the 
prose  volume. 

There  are  two  translations  from  Plato  which  she 
cannot  immediately  procure  from  a  person  to  whom 
she  had  lent  them,  and  who  (if  I  recollect  rightly, 
having  mislaid  her  note)  is  out  of  town. 

She  assures  me  that  they  shall  not  be  printed,  and 
that  they  shall  be  sent  to  me  as  soon  as  she  can  obtain 
them.     I  have  also  received  the  whole  remaining  im- 
pression of  the  Posthumous  Poems,  190  copies. 
I  remain,  my  dear  Sir, 

Very  sincerely  yours, 

Augt.  1 8,  1824. 

Mary  Shelley  no  doubt  consented  thus  readily  to  the 
suppression  of  the  Posthumous  Poems  as  the  question 


Shelley  in   England 

was  then  pending  whether  Sir  Timothy  would  advance 
her  a  sum  of  money  on  her  expectant  interest  under 
her  husband's  will.  She  wrote  accordingly  to  Leigh 
Hunt  on  August  22nd  : 

"A  negotiation  has  begun  between  Sir  Timothy 
Shelley  and  myself,  by  which,  on  sacrificing  a  small 
part  of  my  future  expectations  on  the  will,  I  shall 
ensure  myself  a  sufficiency  for  the  present.  ...  I 
have  been  obliged,  however,  as  an  indispensable  pre- 
liminary, to  suppress  the  Posthumous  Poems.1  More 
than  300  copies  had  been  sold,  so  this  is  the  less  pro- 

1  The  following  is  the  account  of  the  publishers,  John  and  Henry  Hunt, 
for  Shelley's  Posthtunous  Poems  : 


£    s.  d. 

To  Printing  500  copies   .     90  1 1     6 
,,  26|  Reams  of  Paper 

@  30/6  .        .         .     40  15  ioi 
, ,  Entering  at  Stationers' 

Hall  .  .  .030 
,,  Advertisements.  .  24  13  9 
, ,  ii  copies  to  Stationers' 

Hall®  10/6.  .  5  15  6 
,,  41  copies  to  Mrs. 

Shelley  @  10/6  .  21  10  6 
,,  10  copies  to  The 

Press  @  10/6  .  550 
,,  1 60  copies  to  Sir  T. 

Shelley  (in  sheets) 

@  10/6 .  .  .  80  o  o 
,,  31  copies  to  Sir  T. 

Shelley  (in  boards) 

@  10/6 .  .  .1656 
, ,  Recalling  from  Country 

Agents  .         .        .162 
,,  Mrs.   Shelley  on  ac- 
count   .         .        .     15    o    o 
,,  Publishing         .         .     36    o    o 

£337    6    9£ 


£,   s.    d. 

By  500  copies  Sheets  (as 

480  @  io/-)  .        .  240    o    o 
Balance  carried  forward .     97    6    9 

;£337     6 

To  Balance  brought  forward,  ^"97,  6s. 



yoking,  and  I  have  been  obliged  to  promise  not  to 
bring  dear  Shelley's  name  before  the  public  again 
during  Sir  Timothy's  life.  There  is  no  great  harm  in 
this,  since  he  is  above  seventy  ;  l  and,  from  choice, 
I  should  not  think  of  writing  memoirs  now,  and  the 
materials  for  a  volume  of  more  works  are  so  scant 
that  I  doubted  before  whether  I  could  publish  it. 
Such  is  the  folly  of  the  world,  and  so  do  things  seem 
different  from  what  they  are ;  since  from  Whitton's 
account,  Sir  Timothy  writhes  under  the  fame  of  his 
incomparable  son,  as  if  it  were  the  most  grievous  injury 
done  to  him ;  and  so,  perhaps,  after  all  it  will  prove. 
All  this  was  pending  when  I  wrote  last,  but  until  I 
was  certain  I  did  not  think  it  worth  while  to  mention 
it.  The  affair  is  arranged  by  Peacock,  who,  though 
I  seldom  see  him,  seems  anxious  to  do  me  all  these 
kind  of  services  in  the  best  manner  that  he  can." 

Peacock  was  certainly  vigilant,  and  he  saw  Whitton 
on  November  27th  in  regard  to  a  letter  that  he  had 
received  from  Mary  respecting  her  situation  and  want 
of  means.  Whitton  gave  his  advice  as  to  her  ability 
to  purchase  an  annuity  for  her  life,  and  he  promised 
to  furnish  her  with  the  necessary  evidence  if  Sir 
Timothy  declined  to  take  part  in  the  transaction.2 
Both  Mrs.  Shelley  and  Peacock  saw  Whitton  several 
times  on  the  subject,  and,  as  Sir  Timothy  finally  de- 
clined to  take  part  in  her  proposed  annuity,  the  lawyer 
suggested  that  Peacock  should  lay  the  proposal  before 

1  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  lived  to  the  age  of  ninety-one. 

2  From  Whitton's  Diary,  November  27,  1824. 


Shelley  in   England 

some  insurance  company.  Peacock  acted  on  this 
counsel,  but  the  negotiation  proved  abortive. 

Mary  wrote  to  her  friend,  Miss  Curran,  on  January 
2,  1825,  with  regard  to  her  affairs  :  "  I  have  now  better 
prospects  than  I  had,  or  rather,  a  better  reality,  for  my 
prospects  are  sufficiently  misty.  I  receive  now  £200 
from  my  Father-in-law,  but  this  in  so  strange  and  em- 
barrassed a  manner  that,  as  yet,  I  hardly  know  what  to 
make  of  it.  I  do  not  believe,  however,  that  he  would 
object  to  my  going  abroad,  as  I  daresay  he  considers 
that  the  first  step  towards  kingdom  come,  whither, 
doubtless,  he  prays  that  an  interloper  like  me  may 
speedily  be  removed."  l 

The  prospect  of  remaining  in  London  was  daily 
growing  more  distasteful  to  her.  On  April  8th  she 
wrote  to  Leigh  Hunt :  "I  shall  not  live  with  my 
father  but  return  to  Italy  and  economise  the  moment 
God  and  Mr.  Whitton  will  permit." 

Any  doubts,  however,  that  Mary  may  have  enter- 
tained respecting  her  income  were  soon  to  be  dispelled 
by  an  unfortunate  incident. 

Mary  had  written  a  novel,  during  the  last  years  of 
Shelley's  life,  of  which  he  entertained  a  high  opinion, 

1  Whitton  noted  in  his  Diary  on  December  26,  1824:  "  Writing  letter 
to  Mrs.  Shelley.  Gave  her  cheque  for  ^50."  It  is  not  clear  whether  Sir 
Timothy  had  actually  entered  into  an  arrangement  with  Mary  to  allow 
her  £200  a  year,  or  whether  she  took  this  sum  to  represent  a  quarterly 
instalment  of  a  regular  allowance. 



and  he  attempted  to  find  a  publisher  for  it.  The 
book,  with  the  title  Valperga  ;  or,  The  Life  and  Adven- 
tures of  Castruccio,  Prince  of  Lucca,  was  issued  during 
the  summer  of  1823,  shortly  before  Mary  left  Italy. 
The  publisher  paid  her  for  the  manuscript  a  sum  of 
£400,  which  she  generously  gave  to  her  father,  who 
had  put  the  book  into  shape  for  publication.  It  was 
now  imperative  that  Mary  should  again  employ  her 
pen  to  eke  out  her  meagre  income,  and  she  wrote 
another  novel,  The  Last  Man,  which  was  published 
early  in  the  year  1826.  This  book,  like  its  predecessor, 
did  not  bear  Mary's  name  on  the  title-page,  but  was 
described  as  "by  the  author  of  Frankenstein."  When 
Sir  Timothy  induced  Mary  to  suppress  the  Posthumous 
Poems,  under  the  threat  of  stopping  supplies  if  she  re- 
fused, she  hoped  that,  in  recognition  of  her  compliance 
with  his  wishes,  he  would  have  considered  the  question 
of  raising  money  for  her  benefit.  But  it  was  his  desire 
that  Shelley's  memory  might  be  forgotten,  and  he  made 
it  a  condition  of  continuing  the  allowance  to  Mary  of 
£100  per  annum  that  she  should  not  bring  her  hus- 
band's name  again  before  the  public.  Mary  Shelley 
was  pretty  widely  known  to  be  the  author  of  Franken- 
stein, although  originally  published  anonymously,  as 
her  father,  in  bringing  out  the  new  edition  of  that 
romance,  had  put  her  name  on  the  title-page.  The 
reviewers,  therefore,  of  The  Last  Man  freely  referred 


Shelley  in   England 

to  her  by  name,  and  this  publicity  so  annoyed  Sir 
Timothy,  that  he  showed  his  displeasure  by  suspending 
her  allowance,  although  Mary  was  in  no  wise  blame- 

Whitton,  in  sending  Peacock  a  sum  of  £50  for  Mary 
on  July  5,  1826,  said  that  it  must  be  considered  the 
last  payment.  He  added,  in  the  same  letter,  that 
Shelley's  eldest  son  by  Harriet,  Charles  Bysshe,  was 
in  consumption.  Six  days  later  he  wrote  again  to 
Peacock,  and  sent  him,  for  Mrs.  Shelley's  information, 
the  doctor's  report  on  the  boy's  case,  and  said  :  "I 
regret  very  much  the  situation  of  the  little  fellow  ; 
he  has  the  affectionate  attention  of  Sir  Timothy  and 
Lady  Shelley  and  of  the  young  ladies  at  Field  Place. 
This  disaster  puts,  I  fear,  a  complete  negative  to  the 
raising  by  Mrs.  Shelley  of  an  annuity  upon  her  ex- 
pectant interest  in  the  Estates  incumbered  as  they 
have  been." 

About  the  middle  of  September  1826  little  Charles 
Shelley  died,  and  Mary's  son,  Percy  Florence,  became 
heir-presumptive  to  the  baronetcy.  It  is  pretty  clear 
that  there  was  little  love  lost  between  Sir  Timothy 
and  Mary  Shelley,  and  he  was  probably  prepared  to 
think  of  his  grandson  Percy  as  an  interloper,  especially 
as  the  boy  stood  between  Sir  Timothy's  second  son 
John  and  the  baronetcy.  John  Shelley,  although  only 
twenty,  was  already  engaged  to  be  married,  and  his 



From  a  photograph  -in  the  possession  of  Sir  John  Shelley,  Bart. 


father,  in  sending  Whitton,  on  October  I5th,  a  cer- 
tificate of  Charles's  burial,  wrote  with  regard  to  the 
young  man's  settlement  in  life  :  "  You  mention'd  that 
you  should  be  enabled  during  the  Vacation  to  put 
into  writing  the  several  interests  of  the  State  of  the 
Family  concerns  and  of  the  interest,  etc.,  of  my  son 
respecting  his  nuptials.  It  will  be  very  gratifying  to 
me  so  to  arrange  matters  that  I  may  see  my  way  to 
do  right,  and  set  him  out  as  circumstances  admit. 
My  son  will  be  of  age  the  middle  of  March  next,  and 
young  folks  do  not  feel  easy  apart  when  all  agree  upon 
the  point,  and  at  my  time  of  Life  my  only  wish  is  to 
make  those  happy  I  feel  so  much  interest  for,  and  no 
delay  will  be  on  my  part  and  I  am  sure  not  on  yours 
in  laying  before  him  in  due  time  his  expectations." 

John  Shelley  was  married  on  March  24,  1827,  to 
Eliza,  daughter  of  Charles  Bowen  of  Kilna  Court, 
Queen's  County.  Some  two  years  later  he  appears 
to  have  done  something  to  upset  his  father,  in  whose 
affections,  however,  he  seems  to  have  had  a  place  that 
was  denied  to  or  forfeited  by  Bysshe.  The  exact 
nature  of  the  trouble  is  not  disclosed,  but  money  was 
involved.  Sir  Timothy,  in  writing  to  Whitton  on 
August  18,  1829,  said  :  "I  wish  he  had  always  been 
as  cautious  in  his  dealings  and  I  hope  he  may  be  so 
in  future  as  he  is  with  me  :  I  the  rather  encouraged 
it  that  he  may  have  an  example  for  the  future.  Would 


Shelley  in   England 

not  any  little  memorandum  suffice  to  quiet  his  fears  ? 
I  wish  once  to  arrange  with  him,  then  he  must  take 
care  of  himself  and  give  me  no  further  trouble.  .  .  . 
As  John  mentioned  £800  I  told  him  £1000  would  be 
better  and  the  other  £500  would  be  ready  giving  me 
some  notice.  He  told  me  you  advis'd  him  not  to  be 
hasty  in  replacing  the  £500.  We  were  all  young  once." 
He  referred  to  the  same  subject  again  on  September 
4th  :  '  This  young  man,  my  son,  came  to  his  senses 
of  his  own  accord,  I  wish  he  may  always  see  his  way 
right  and  see  his  interest  with  those  who  wish  him 
well,  amongst  whom  his  Father,  and  the  gentleman 
who  only  knows  and  understands  the  concerns  in 
which  he  may  have  to  transact  business  with.  Nothing 
but  the  lack  of  money  can  make  youngsters  under- 
stand the  right  use  of  it."  1 

Peacock's  good  offices  were  again  requisitioned  by 
Mary  to  explain  to  Whitton  that  her  name  had  not 
appeared  on  the  title-pages  of  her  books,  and  that  for 
the  publicity  that  had  been  given  to  her  she  was  in 
no  way  responsible.  Whitton,  who  acknowledged  the 
truth  of  these  circumstances,  said,  "  The  name  was  the 
matter ;  it  annoyed  Sir  Timothy."  Although  the 

1  John  Shelley  died  on  Nov.  n,  1866.  His  son  Edward,  born  1827, 
who  became  4th  Baronet  in  1889  on  the  death  of  Sir  Percy  Florence 
Shelley,  was  succeeded  as  5th  Baronet  by  his  brother  Charles,  born  1838, 
father  of  the  6th  and  present  Baronet,  Sir  John  Courtown  Edward  Shelley 
of  Avington,  Hants,  and  Field  Place,  Sussex. 



lawyer  would  promise  nothing,  Peacock  did  not  doubt 
that  Mary  would  at  length  receive  an  allowance, 
"  though  she  might  be  punished  by  a  short  delay."  l 

In  writing  to  Trelawny  from  Kentish  Town,  on  March 
4,  1827,  Mary  spoke  of  the  extreme  severity  of  the 
winter,  that  had  carried  off  many  old  people.  Sir 
Timothy  had  been  laid  up  with  the  gout  for  ten  weeks, 
but  he  had  recovered.  "  All  that  time,"  she  con- 
tinued, "  a  settlement  for  me  was  delayed,  although 
it  was  acknowledged  that  Percy,  now  being  the  heir, 
one  ought  to  be  made  ;  at  length  after  much  parading 
they  have  notified  me  that  I  shall  receive  a  magnificent 
£250  a  year,  to  be  increased  next  year  to  £300.  But 
then  I  am  not  permitted  to  leave  this  cloudy  nook. 
My  desire  to  get  away  is  unchanged,  and  I  used  to 
look  forward  to  your  return  as  a  period  when  I  might 
contrive — but  I  fear  there  is  no  hope  during  Sir  T.'s 
life.  He  and  his  family  are  now  at  Brighton.  John 
Shelley,  dear  S.'s  brother,  is  about  to  marry,  and 
talks  of  calling  on  me." 

Mr.  Whitton  went  to  Brighton  to  see  Sir  Timothy, 
who  talked  over  with  him  Mrs.  Shelley's  situation. 
On  his  return  to  London  the  lawyer  saw  Mrs.  Shelley 
and  Peacock,  and  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy,  on  March 
2gth,  that  he  "  intimated  to  them  the  kind  intention 
you  had  of  affording  protection  to  her  and  the  child 

1  Mrs.  Marshall's  Life  of  Mary  Shelley,  vol.  ii.  p.  150. 

Shelley  in   England 

of  a  limited  annual  amount,  under  the  sum  you  men- 
tioned to  me,  because  I  thought  it  most  prudent  to 
reserve  a  portion  for  the  increasing  expenses  of  the 
little  Boy  and  she  seemed  extremely  gratified  in  your 
kindness.  It  was  then  agreed  that  a  security  should 
be  prepared  for  what  had  already  been  paid  amounting 
to  about  £1000,  that  is  £750  by  yourself,  the  residue  by 
me  and  for  the  future  advances."  After  some  tedious 
negotiations  with  Whitton  and  Amory  &  Cole — the 
lawyers  representing  Peacock  as  Shelley's  sole  sur- 
viving trustee,  in  which  Peacock  displayed  exemplary 
patience — the  business  was  ultimately  arranged.  While 
these  details  were  under  discussion,  Sir  Timothy  wrote, 
on  April  ist,  to  Whitton  : 

"  My  motive  for  arranging  with  your  assistance  for 
Mrs.  S.  when  I  had  the  pleasure  of  seeing  you  at 
Brighton,  was  to  set  her  above  the  evils  of  pecuniary 
want,  and  whatever  I  may  feel  under  the  general 
circumstances,  I  can  never  harbour  within  my  breast 
unchristian-like  Feelings  towards  her,  but  to  make 
the  best  of  existing  things,  and  acting  upon  principle 
and  rectitude.  Mr.  Peacock,  her  Friend,  will  no  doubt 
be  influenced  by  the  same  Motives,  and  as  you  are 
aware  of  the  best  to  be  done,  I  have  only  to  add,  that 
her  Friend  may  be  assur'd,  you  have  ever  been  a 
powerful  advocate  in  her  favour,  and  nothing  but 
what  is  honourable  and  just  would  be  proposed. 

"  I  forbear  to  enter  into  past  events,  but  look  to  what 
is  just  and  may  be  so  made  appear  to  all  parties. 



"  Except  on  a  point  of  positive  Law  I  have  not  for  a 
long  time  held  the  opinion  of  Counsel  in  much  esti- 
mation. I  hope  the  justness  of  any  case  I  may  have 
to  do  with  may  be  the  rule. 

"  Having  completely  conquer 'd  Gout  etc.  without  the 
aid  of  medical  advisers,  you  will  as  readily  conquer  the 
case  upon  the  like  principle,  Patience  and  well  doing." 

Sir  Timothy  decided  to  take  a  personal  part  in  these 
negotiations,  and  Whitton  therefore  wrote  to  Peacock, 
on  May  gth,  to  say  that  his  client  was  desirous  of 
having  an  explanation  in  regard  to  the  security  with 
him,  and,  if  he  thought  proper,  with  his  solicitor, 
Mr.  Amory  ;  and  he  added  that  if  he  could  con- 
veniently bring  the  little  boy  Sir  Timothy  would  be 
glad  to  see  him  :  "  but  he  particularly  wishes  not  to 
trouble  Mrs.  Shelley  to  call  with  him." 

A  few  days  after  the  interview  Sir  Timothy  wrote 
to  his  lawyer  :  "I  felt  so  unman'd  and  unpleasant 
feelings  at  meeting  the  Little  Boy,  and  the  Gentleman 
with  you,  and  Mr.  Amory  brought  to  my  recollection 
the  past,  that  it  unfitted  me  to  say  more  than  leaving 
it,  and  most  properly  too,  in  your  hands  :  It  did  not 
appear  to  me  that  Mr.  Amory  brook'd  giving  way.  I 
trust  you  will  succeed  at  last,  for  I  am  sure  you  pointed 
out  no  more  than  was  just,  if  she  perchance  hold  under 
the  will.  The  Little  Boy  appear'd  a  child  of  5  years 
of  age ;  he  look'd  very  small,  very  healthy,  and  very 
clean  in  his  person." 

593  2P 

Shelley  in   England 

In  handing  over  the  business  to  be  settled  by 
Whitton,  Sir  Timothy  showed  that  he  distrusted  the 
methods  of  Messrs.  Amory  &  Cole,  but  he  wrote  on 
May  2ist  that  "  Mr.  Peacock  seemed  to  wish  to  act 
properly."  The  delays  were  causing  Mary  great  in- 
convenience, and  Peacock  therefore  drafted  a  letter 
for  her  to  send  to  Sir  Timothy,  which  she  copied  out 
and  sent  to  Mr.  Whitton. 

Mary  W.  Shelley  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

May  29,  1827. 

SIR, — It  is  the  subject  of  great  anxiety  to  me  that 
the  period  of  my  signing  the  deed  drawn  by  Mr.  Whitton 
is  again  delayed,  and  I  am  the  more  mortified  since 
it  appears  that  this  delay  is  occasioned  by  a  communi- 
cation of  mine.  When  Mr.  Whitton  proposed  to  me 
that  on  the  contingency  of  my  inheriting  on  Bysshe's 
Will  I  should  repay  the  sums  advanced  and  to  be 
advanced  by  you  to  me  and  my  child,  I  immediately 
acceded  to  the  arrangement  as  being  just  and  proper. 
Mr.  Whitton  wished  that  the  deed  he  should  draw 
should  be  seen  and  approved  by  a  Solicitor  on  my  part. 
Mr.  Peacock  named  Mr.  Amory,  and  Mr.  Whitton  was 
satisfied  with  this  nomination.  As  soon  as  the  affair 
was  put  into  the  hands  of  a  Solicitor,  I  of  course  con- 
sidered myself  obliged  to  act  under  his  directions,  and 
in  consequence  of  Mr.  Amory's  objections  all  this 
delay  has  occurred. 

For  myself  I  do  not  hesitate  to  say  that  I  put  every 



confidence  in  you,  Sir  Timothy,  and  that  I  feel  perfectly 
secure  that  my  interests  are  safe  in  your  hands,  and 
I  am  ready  to  confide  them  to  your  direction.  It  is 
hard  therefore  that  while  I  am  satisfied  with  the 
arrangements  you  make,  that  the  objections  of  my 
advisers  should  subject  me  to  the  dreadful  embarrass- 
ments with  which  I  am  now  struggling.  It  was  in 
February  last  that  Mr.  Whitton  announced  to  me  your 
intention  of  allowing  me  £250  p.  ann.,  since  then  I 
have  received  no  supply.  I  have  lived  on  credit — 
the  bills  incurred  are  now  presented  for  payment,  and 
neither  have  I  funds  to  defray  them  nor  any  by  which 
I  can  continue  to  exist. 

I  do  not  understand  business  :  and  I  do  not  mean 
to  bring  this  subject  before  you  as  a  question  of 
business.  The  interest  you  shewed  for  my  son  en- 
couraged me  in  the  hope  that  you  also  will  be  desirous 
of  facilitating  my  earnest  wish  of  bringing  him  up 
properly.  I  consider  it  perfectly  right  that  I  should 
repay  the  sums  you  advance  to  me  for  his  support, 
but  the  means  for  his  support  I  can  only  obtain 
through  you.  I  am  sure  that  you  will  not  permit  a 
question  of  forms  merely  to  interfere  with  the  welfare 
of  your  grandson  and  the  respectability  of  his  mother. 
It  is  a  great  misfortune  to  me  that  I  am  not  permitted 
to  see  you.  It  would  have  been  a  great  happiness 
if,  left  a  widow,  I  could  have  been  under  the  protec- 
tion of  Bysshe's  father.  This  good  is  denied  to  me  : 
but  let  me  entreat  you  to  enter  into  my  situation 
and  not  to  delay  in  relieving  me  from  the  humiliation 
and  distresses  to  which  I  am  subjected.  I  believe 
that  Mr.  Whitton  feels  assured  that  confidence  may  be 
safely  placed  in  me  and  will  not  advise  any  further 
postponement  in  the  desired  settlement. 


Shelley  in   England 

Let  me  entreat  you  therefore,  Sir  Timothy,  to  direct 
that  the  deed  in  question  may  be  immediately  pre- 
pared for  my  signature.  Every  day  is  of  consequence 
to  me  :  your  kind  feelings  will,  I  do  not  doubt,  cause 
as  few  to  intervene  as  possible  before  I  am  relieved 
from  my  embarrassments. 

Percy  is  quite  well,  and  often  speaks  of  you  :  I 
hope  it  will  not  be  long  before  he  has  the  honour  of 
seeing  you  again. 

I  am  your  obliged  and  obt.  servant, 


This  letter  did  not  meet  with  Whitton's  approval, 
and  one  gathers  from  Mary's  next  letter  that  he  ex- 
cused himself  from  sending  it  on  to  Sir  Timothy  on 
account  of  some  domestic  trouble  under  which  he  was 
suffering  at  the  time. 

Mary  W.  Shelley  to  W.  Whitton 


June  4,  1827. 

SIR, — I  am  sorry  that  my  letter  to  Sir  Timy  Shelley 
is  not  satisfactory.  I  beg  you  will  attribute  my 
failure  to  my  utter  ignorance  of  business  and  my  not 
knowing  exactly  what  it  was  necessary  that  I  should 

I  thought  that  when  I  expressed  my  perfect 
confidence  in  Sir  Timothy,  and  my  readiness  to  sign 
the  deed  in  question,  that  I  should  efface  any  dis- 
agreeable impression  made  by  my  letter  to  Mr.  Amory. 



The  explanation  of  that  letter  is  simple.  I  had,  at 
your  wish,  confided  the  conduct  of  my  affairs  to  Mr. 

I  copied  the  letter — which  certainly  when  he  com- 
posed he  had  no  intention  it  should  contain  any  ex- 
pressions offensive  to  Sir  T.  Shelley.  You  told  me 
that  it  conveyed  the  idea  that  a  foundation  was  to 
be  laid  by  it  for  a  suit  in  Chancery — I  am  sorry  it 
should  have  been  so  ill  worded — I  utterly  disclaim 
any  such  intention  or  thought  on  my  part — I  beg  to 
retract  any  expressions  that  would  give  rise  to  such 
an  idea,  or  that  detract  at  all  from  the  perfect  confi- 
dence I  feel  in  Sir  Timothy. 

I  trust  that  my  present  communication  fills  up  any 
omission  in  my  last.  If  not,  and  if  you  will  let  me 
know  that  such  is  the  case,  I  will  call  on  you  at  any 
hour  you  will  appoint  that  I  may  learn  by  what  act 
or  word  of  mine  I  can  bring  this  painful  negociation 
to  a  conclusion. 

I  am  most  anxious  to  make  the  required  concessions 
and  to  sign  the  deed — My  situation  is  one  of  struggle 
and  embarrassment — Besides  the  debts  I  have  been 
obliged  to  incur — I  made  arrangements  (when  on  the 
interview  of  Sir  Timy  with  Messrs.  Peacock  and  Amory, 
I  thought  the  negociation  on  the  eve  of  terminating) 
to  quit  Kentish  Town.  I  cannot  delay  my  departure 
more  than  a  fortnight  or  three  weeks — and  yet  without 
money  I  cannot  discharge  my  bills  here — Permit  me 
to  request  as  a  personal  favour  to  myself  that  you 
would  kindly  use  your  influence  with  Sir  Timothy — 
and  as  speedily  as  circumstances  will  permit  make 
such  communication  to  him  as  will  bring  this  dis- 
tressing delay  to  a  termination. 

May  I  be  allowed  to  ask  what  the  circumstance  is 


Shelley  in  England 

to  which  you  allude  as  having  occurred  in  Sir  Tim's 

I  am,  Sir, 

Your  obt.  Sevt., 


Sir  Timothy  agreed  at  length  to  advance  a  sum  upon 
Mrs.  Shelley's  bond,  with  the  provision  that  the  amount 
was  to  be  repaid  to  his  estate  on  his  death  with  interest 
at  5  per  cent.  This  sum  was  to  provide  her  with  an 
annual  income,  to  commence  on  September  ist,  which 
was  first  fixed  at  £250,  and  was  subsequently  to  be 
augmented  when  later  she  would  have  to  meet  the 
increased  expenses  of  her  son's  education.  According 
to  Mrs.  Marshall,  Mary  was  staying  during  most  of 
the  autumn  of  1827  at  Arundel  in  Sussex,  "  with,  or 
in  the  near  neighbourhood  of  her  friends,  the  Miss 
Robinsons.  There  were  several  sisters,  to  one  of 
whom,  Julia,  Mrs.  Shelley  was  much  attached."  * 
While  in  Sussex  Mary  wrote  to  Whitton,  on  August 
I5th,  from  Sompting,  near  Shoreham,  and  said  she 
desired  to  express  "  her  grateful  thanks "  to  Sir 
Timothy  "  for  his  attentions  to  my  poor  boy  and  his 
kindness  towards  myself.  Percy  is  very  well  indeed. 
The  fresh  country  air  and  sea  baths  have  added  to 
his  look  of  perfect  health.  This  makes  me  the  less 

1  Life  and  Letters  of  Mary  W.  Shelley,  by  Mrs.  Julia  Marshall,  vol.  ii. 
p.  183. 



regret  a  short  delay  in  putting  him  to  School.  Mr. 
Peacock  has  meanwhile  promised  to  make  enquiries 
concerning  one  :  My  plan  is  that  it  should  be  at  a 
short  distance  from  town  and  that  I  should  reside 
close  to  it.  This  will  be  quite  necessary  at  first  while 
he  is  a  day  scholar,  and  afterwards  I  should  not  choose 
to  be  at  any  distance  from  him/'  Mary  found  a  school 
for  Percy,  kept  by  a  Mr.  Slater,  at  Kensington,  where 
she  sent  him  on  March  25,  1828. 1  She  now  saw  an 
opportunity  of  gratifying  her  long-cherished  desire  to 
take  a  holiday  on  the  Continent.  During  Percy's 
Easter  holidays,  on  April  8th,  she  wrote  to  Whitton  : 
"  A  friend  of  mine  has  arrived  from  the  South  at 
Paris,  and  intends  immediately  almost  to  proceed  to 
Germany.  As  I  desire  very  much  to  profit  by  this 
only  opportunity  I  shall  have  of  seeing  her,  I  intend 
going  to  Paris  the  day  after  I  take  Percy  back  to 
school  (next  Thursday).  As  I  shall  be  exceedingly 
anxious  to  return  to  him,  I  shall  not  remain  away 
more  than  three  weeks.  The  opportunity  is  the  more 
desirable  as  I  join  other  friends  who  are  going." 

On  April  nth  Mary  wrote  in  her  diary  :  "I  depart 
for  Paris  sick  of  heart  yet  pining  to  see  my  friend  " 
(Julia  Robinson).  According  to  the  statement  of  one 
who  knew  Mary,  in  a  book  entitled  Traits  of  Character, 
"  Honour  to  the  authoress  and  admiration  for  the 

1  The  school  is  now  the  Church  House  to  the  Carmelite  Church. 


Shelley  in  England 

woman  awaited  her  "  in  Paris.  Mary,  however,  was 
both  depressed  and  ill  on  her  journey,  and  little  wonder  ; 
for,  as  she  wrote  in  her  diary,  she  was  sickening  of 
the  smallpox,  with  which  she  was  confined  to  bed  as 
soon  as  she  arrived  in  Paris,  and  although  the  nature 
of  her  disaster  was  concealed  from  her  till  her  con- 
valescence, she  was  not  so  easily  duped.  Her  illness 
was  succeeded  by  buoyant  health  and  spirits.  Though, 
she  said,  "  a  monster  to  look  at,"  she  endeavoured  to 
make  herself  agreeable  to  her  friends  in  Paris,  "  who 
were  very  amiable." 

Mrs.  Shelley  stayed  at  Dover  for  a  few  days,  on  her 
return  from  the  Continent,  for  the  benefit  of  the  sea- 
bathing.1 During  her  absence  she  had  heard  the 
gratifying  news  that  Sir  Timothy  had  been  to  see  Percy 
at  his  school  in  Kensington.  He  was  much  pleased 
with  the  little  boy,  so  she  was  told  by  Whitton,  who 
believed  that  Lady  Shelley  and  the  Miss  Shelleys — 
then  staying  in  London — also  visited  Percy.  Whitton 
had  also  heard  that  Sir  Timothy  stated  that  the 
child  should  have  lessons  in  dancing.  Mary  showed 
in  her  letters  that  she  was  very  anxious  her  boy 
should  see  his  grandfather  at  regular  intervals.  The 
old  gentleman  did  meet  him  from  time  to  time,  but 
it  does  not  appear  that  he  ever  gratified  Mary's  desire 

1  Mary  was  at  Dover  on  June  4,  on  which  date  she  wrote  to  Whitton 
from  that  place. 



to  receive  her,  although  she  made  frequent  attempts 
to  break  down  his  reserve. 

In  the  following  letter  to  a  friend  of  her  girlhood, 
formerly  Isabel  Baxter,  Mary  described  her  illness  and 
her  visit  to  Paris.  It  would  be  interesting  to  identify 
the  name  of  the  young  French  poet  who  was  so 
attracted  to  Mary.  There  were  so  many  young  poets 
at  that  time  in  Paris,  each  of  whom  was  considered 
the  cleverest  man  in  France. 

Mary  W.  Shelley  to  Mrs.  Isabel  Booth 

DOVER,  June  15  [1828]. 

MY  DEAR  GIRL, — You  will  have  heard  from  Mrs. 
Godwin  of  my  hateful  illness  and  its  odious  results. 
Instead  of  returning  to  town  as  I  most  exceedingly 
desired — to  join  my  friends  there,  and  to  see  again 
dear  Isabel — I  am  fain  to  hide  myself  in  the  country, 
and  as  I  am  told  sea  bathing  will  assist  materially 
the  disappearance  of  the  marks,  I  remain  on  the  coast. 

I  shall  long  to  see  you  again — to  relate  and  to  hear 
a  thousand  histories — if  I  make  a  longer  stay  in  the 
country  than  I  now  intend  perhaps  you  will  join  me— 
but  I  mean  now  to  return  with  Percy  at  the  end  of 
his  holidays,  that  is,  at  the  end  of  July. 

I  was  sickening  of  my  illness  when  I  left  town — my 
journey  was  so  painful  that  I  shudder  at  the  recol- 
lection, and  I  arrived  only  to  go  to  bed.  What  will 
you  say  to  my  philosophy  when  at  the  end  of  three 
weeks  in  brilliant  health  but  as  ugly  as  the  -  -  I 
went  into  society — I  was  well  repaid  for  my  fortitude, 

60 1 

Shelley  in  England 

for  I  am  delighted  with  the  people  I  saw — and  some 
I  love  and  they  merit  my  affection.  What  will  you 
say  also  to  the  imagination  of  one  of  the  cleverest 
men  in  France,  young  and  a  poet,  who  could  be  inter- 
ested in  me  in  spite  of  the  mark  I  wore — It  was  rather 
droll  to  play  the  part  of  an  ugly  person  for  the  first 
time  in  my  life,  yet  it  was  very  amusing  to  be  told — 
or  rather  not  to  be  told  but  to  find,  that  my  face  was 
not  all  my  fortune. 

I  have  excellent  news  of  my  darling  boy,  whom  I 
long  to  see  again — I  hope  you  are  well — Mrs.  G.  men- 
tioned in  her  last  letter  that  your  children  had  called 
there  and  that  all  seemed  well  with  you.  When  I 
last  saw  you,  dear  friend,  I  very  little  anticipated  this 
long  separation — not  at  all  did  I  fear  that  I  should 
avoid  London  on  my  return  from  Paris — instead  of 
seeking  it  as  I  intended  as  speedily  as  possible — 
Patience  !  my  malady  has  made  me  lose  a  year  of 
my  life — but  in  spite  of  the  marks  that  still  remain 
(I  am  in  no  danger  of  permanent  disfigurement)  I  am 
in  good  health — and  so  different  from  my  dreary 
state  all  last  winter — and  looking  younger  than  when 
you  saw  me  last. 

Write  to  me,  dearest,  and  direct  to  me  at  J.  Robin- 
son, Esq.,  Park  Cottage,  Paddington — and  your  letter 
will  be  forwarded — Early  next  week  I  go  to  Hastings. 

My  love  to  Isabel  and  Kate  and  remembrances  to 
Mr.  Booth. 


M.  S. 

Have  the  goodness,  love,  to  put  the  enclosed  in  the 
twopenny  post  for  me. 



Mary  expected  that  her  yearly  allowance  would  have 
been  increased  to  £300  on  sending  Percy  to  school, 
and  she  put  her  case  before  Whitton  for  reference  to 
her  father-in-law.  Until  her  request  was  granted  she 
addressed  frequent  letters  to  the  lawyer,  who,  loath  to 
give  his  client  the  trouble  of  following  the  corre- 
spondence, only  applied  to  him  when  compelled.  But 
the  subject  irritated  Sir  Timothy,  who  at  length  grew 
testy  and  wrote  :  "I  must  entreat  to  leave  this  very 
troublesome  woman  to  your  judgment  in  respect  to 
Finances.  .  .  .  What  a  wonderful  assembly  of  animals 
I  have  to  deal  with."  *  Of  Mary's  letters  he  said  : 
"  They  are  couched  in  terms  far  from  my  approbation, 
and  I  trust  you  will  be  spared  the  repetition.  I  have 
every  sentiment  of  wishing  well  to  her  and  the  little 
boy,  and  that  there  may  be  no  further  trouble  given 
you,  under  the  circumstances  I  will  advance  £300  per 
annum  from  the  ist  day  of  June  1829."  *  Mrs.  Shelley 
told  Whitton,  in  a  letter  written  on  December  2nd, 
that  Percy  was  receiving  lessons  in  drilling,  with  a 
view  to  curing  him  of  a  tendency  to  stoop.  She  could 
not  resist  a  little  thrust  at  her  father-in-law,  and  added  : 
"  I  think  Sir  Timothy  would  find  him  [Percy]  im- 
proved and  he  is  really  very  good  and  above  all  tract- 
able, which  is  not  quite  the  virtue  of  his  father's 

1  Sir  T.  Shelley  to  Whitton,  January  19,  1829.       *  Ibid.,  June  I,  1829. 


Shelley  in   England 

On  her  return  to  London  Mary  went  to  stay  with 
her  friends  the  Robinsons  at  Park  Cottage,  Padding- 
ton.  She  repeated  her  visits  to  them  on  many  occa- 
sions, and  on  September  I,  1830,  she  wrote  a  letter 
from  their  address  to  Whitton  on  some  matter  of 
business.  Her  friendship  with  the  Robinsons  gave 
rise  to  a  rumour  that  must  have  caused  her  annoy- 
ance. Whitton  wrote  to  Sir  Timothy,  on  November  i, 
1830,  that  a  person  had  come  into  his  room  and  told 
him,  among  other  things,  that  "  Mrs.  Bysshe  Shelley 
had  married  a  person  named  Robinson,"  and  on 
inquiry  the  lawyer  obtained  the  impression,  which 
appears  to  have  had  no  foundation,  that  she  had 
lately  changed  her  residence  to  the  house  of  a  person 
of  that  name.  Sir  Timothy  replied  that  Mrs.  Paul, 
wife  of  the  banker's  son,  while  on  a  visit  to  Field  Place, 
had  spoken  of  Mary  and  her  little  boy,  whom  she 
expected  to  see,  whereupon  Sir  Timothy  requested 
her  to  take  the  child  a  sovereign.  The  gift  was 
acknowledged  in  the  following  letter  of  thanks  to 
Sir  Timothy,  who  described  it  as  "  dictated  artfully  "  ; 
and  he  added,  with  regard  to  the  child's  remark  that 
he  hoped  he  should  some  day  be  allowed  to  pay  a 
visit  to  his  grandfather  :  "  On  no  account  whatever 
would  I  take  the  boy.  I  felt  so  much  on  the  death 
of  Charles."  Sir  Timothy  thought  that  Mrs.  Paul 
might  be  able  to  solve  the  question  of  Mary's  sup- 



posed  marriage.  Whitton,  however,  on  making  the 
next  payment  to  Mary,  asked  her  the  question,  and 
she  declared  that  she  was  not  married,  and  there  the 
matter  rested. 

Percy  Florence  Shelley  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

j  2th  of  November,  my  birthday,  1830. 

MY  DEAR  GRANDPAPA, — I  am  very  much  obliged  to 
you  for  your  kindness  in  thinking  of  your  little  grand- 
son, and  in  sending  me  a  fine  bright  sovereign,  and 
I  shall  think  of  the  goodness  of  my  dear  Grandpapa 
each  time  I  buy  any  pretty  thing  with  it. 

When  shall  I  see  you  again  ?  I  hope  soon.  As  I 
get  on  at  school,  and  I  hear  Mr.  Slater  is  satisfied 
with  me,  perhaps  some  day  you  will  be  so  very  good 
as  to  let  me  pay  you  and  my  Grandmama  a  visit  in 
the  country.  I  am  learning  to  draw,  and  I  like  draw- 
ing better  than  any  other  lesson.  I  shall  buy  a  box  of 
paints  with  some  of  the  money  you  have  given  me. 

Pray  give  my  duty  to  Lady  Shelley  and  my  love  to 
my  aunts.  I  hope,  dear  Grandpapa,  that  you  will 
love  me,  and  I  will  try  always  to  be  a  good  boy.  Some 
ladies  friends  of  Mama  who  know  you,  say  I  am  very 
like  you,  so  I  am  sure  I  ought  to  be  good. 
I  am,  my  dear  Grandpapa, 

Your  dutiful  grandson, 


Mary  Shelley  did  not  marry  again,  but  she  received 
from  Trelawny,  then  her  devoted  friend  and  constant 


Shelley  in  England 

correspondent,  an  offer  of  marriage  in  1831.  To  him 
she  wrote,  on  June  I4th  of  that  year  :  "  Do  you  think 
I  shall  marry  ?  Never, — neither  you  nor  anybody 
else.  Mary  Shelley  shall  be  written  on  my  tomb, — 
and  why  ?  I  cannot  tell,  except  that  it  is  so  pretty 
a  name,  that  though  I  were  to  preach  to  myself  for 
years,  I  never  should  have  the  heart  to  get  rid  of  it." 
In  a  subsequent  letter  to  him  she  was  equally  em- 
phatic :  "  My  name  will  never  be  Trelawny."  Al- 
though his  attitude  towards  Mary  underwent  no  im- 
mediate change,  Trelawny  did  not  remain  constant 
in  his  devotion  ;  he  seems  gradually  to  have  forgotten 
his  former  regard  for  her,  and  after  her  death  he  gave 
expression  to  some  ungenerous  thoughts  of  the  woman 
whom  he  once  wooed  with  fervour. 

During  these  years,  when  Mary  was  employed  in 
trying  to  exact  from  her  father-in-law  a  few  additional 
pounds  to  her  allowance,  it  is  not  to  be  supposed  that 
she  lived  in  seclusion.  She  does  not  appear  naturally 
to  have  been  a  very  cheerful  person  ;  on  the  contrary, 
she  was  given,  when  alone,  to  fits  of  depression  and 
melancholy.  Her  days  were  principally  devoted  to 
close  literary  work,  though,  so  far  from  boasting  of 
her  authorship,  she  pursued  her  studies  almost  secretly, 
and  disliked  to  be  found  at  work  by  her  friends.  What 
Mary  Shelley  really  loved  was  society,  and  although 
her  means  did  not  allow  her  to  give  dinner  parties  or 



to  go  to  the  opera,  she  made  her  Wednesday  evenings 
at  Somerset  Street  a  feature  of  London  literary  life. 
Besides  Shelley's  old  associates — the  Hoggs,  Peacock, 
Hunt,  and  Horace  Smith — who  hung  together  chiefly 
out  of  regard  for  his  memory,  she  also  numbered  among 
her  friends  the  Lambs,  Bulwer  Lytton,  and  Thomas 
Moore.  Trelawny  would  have  been  among  her  sup- 
porters, but  he  was  still  abroad,  as  also  was  Medwin, 
though  he  was  not  specially  in  Mary's  favour  on  account 
of  his  book  on  Byron  and  his  aspiration  to  write  Shelley's 
life,  a  feat  which  he  subsequently  accomplished,  much 
to  her  dismay. 

During  the  cholera  visitation  to  London  in  1832 
Mary,  anxious  for  the  safety  of  her  boy,  took  him  into 
the  country  to  a  place  of  safety  at  Sandgate,  but  her 
family  did  not  escape  unscathed.  Her  half-brother 
William,  Godwin's  only  child  by  his  second  wife,  a 
promising  young  man,  was  carried  off  by  the  epidemic, 
at  the  age  of  thirty-one,  in  the  autumn  of  1832.  At 
the  time  of  his  death  he  was  parliamentary  reporter 
to  the  Morning  Pvst,  was  happily  married,  and  he  had 
finished  a  novel,  Transfusion,  the  publication  of  which 
was  arranged,  in  1835,  by  his  father,  who  prefaced  the 
book  by  a  memoir. 

The  old  philosopher,  saddened  by  the  loss  of  his 
son,  had  fallen  on  evil  days.  With  advancing  years 
he  found  it  increasingly  difficult  to  keep  the  wolf  from 


Shelley  in   England 

the  door.  A  subscription  had  been  raised  in  1823  for 
his  benefit  by  his  friends  and  admirers.  The  shop, 
never  a  profitable  undertaking,  had  been  abandoned, 
but  Mary  helped  him  whenever  she  could.  At  length, 
in  1833,  Earl  Grey  obtained  for  him  the  small  sinecure 
of  Yeoman  of  the  Exchequer,  with  residence  in  New 
Palace  Yard.  The  nominal  duties  of  the  office  were 
wholly  performed  by  deputies.  Shortly  after  his 
appointment  the  post  was  abolished.  Godwin,  how- 
ever, was  allowed  to  retain  it  through  the  generous 
influence  of  some  of  his  old  opponents.  He  enjoyed 
his  pension  for  some  three  years,  retaining  his  faculties 
to  the  last.  He  passed  away  on  April  7,  1836,  and  was 
buried,  as  he  had  desired,  by  the  side  of  Mary  Woll- 
stonecraft  in  Old  St.  Pancras'  Churchyard. 

Godwin's  bones  were  not  allowed  to  remain  long  in 
their  resting-place,  as  the  construction  of  two  London 
railways,  which  run  below  and  through  the  church- 
yard, made  it  necessary  to  disturb  his  grave  and  that 
of  many  others.  His  grandson,  Sir  Percy  Florence 
Shelley,  caused  the  remains  of  Godwin  and  Mary 
Wollstonecraft  to  be  removed  in  1851  to  the  grave 
at  St.  Peter's,  Bournemouth,  where  Mary  Shelley 
lies  buried.  The  old  four-sided  tombstone,  where 
Shelley  and  Mary  plighted  their  troth  in  the  spring 
of  1814,  is  still  to  be  seen  in  the  public  garden 
into  which  Old  St.  Pancras'  churchyard  has  been 




'  ^l     '    • 

From  a  drawing'  by  D.  Collins 




converted,   and   where  the  inscriptions  may  still  be 
read  : 

MARY  WOLLSTONECRAFT  GODWIN,  author  of  A  Vindication 

of  the  Rights  of  Woman. 
Born  27  April,  1759.     Died  10  September,  1797. 

WILLIAM  GODWIN,  author  of  Political  Justice. 
Born  March  3,  1756.     Died  April  7,  1836.     Aged  80  years. 

MARY  JANE,  second  wife  of  WILLIAM  GODWIN. 
Died  June  17,  1841.    Aged  75  years. 

The  following  is  from  a  copy  of  Godwin's  will  among 
the  Shelley-Whitton  papers,  and  is  characteristic  of 
the  man  who,  though  he  had  little  to  bequeath 
except  the  pictures,  would  not  take  leave  of  the  world 
without  expressing  his  last  wishes.  The  pictures, 
however,  proved  a  valuable  inheritance  ;  that  of  him- 
self and  Mary  Wollstonecraft  passed  to  Sir  Percy 
Shelley,  and  on  the  death  of  his  widow  they  found 
their  way  to  the  National  Portrait  Gallery. 

March  12,  1827. 

It  is  the  Will  of  me  William  Godwin,  that  all  the 
property  of  which  I  die  possessed,  should  go  to  my 
wife,  Mary  Jane  Godwin,  And  I  request  Mr.  John 
Corrie  Hudson  of  the  Legacy  Office,  Somerset  House, 
to  take  upon  him  the  administration  of  this  my  last 
Will,  as  sole  Executor. 

Witness  my  hand  this  twelfth  day  of  March  one 
thousand  eight  hundred  and  twenty-seven. 


Shelley  in  England 

I  leave  to  my  son  &  my  daughter  my  best  and 
most  affectionate  remembrances,  believing  the  one  to 
be  so  provided  for  by  the  gifts  of  nature,  &  the 
other  by  marriage  &  the  will  of  her  late  husband 
that  nothing  that  I  could  add,  could  be  of  any  im- 
portance to  them. — I  request  them  both  to  accept  a 
book,  or  set  of  books  from  my  library,  at  their  own 
choice,  as  a  slight  memorial  of  that  affection,  of  which 
I  would  have  yielded  more  substantial  testimony,  if 
fortune  had  put  it  in  my  power  to  do  so. 

My  portrait  by  Northcote  is  the  principal  memo- 
randum of  my  corporeal  existence  that  will  remain 
after  my  death.  This  is  of  course  included  in  the 
above  general  bequest  to  my  wife.  But  I  should  not 
wish  it  to  go  from  my  children,  &  therefore  after 
her  death,  I  consider  it  as  theirs.  If  my  son,  after 
my  death,  should  be  poor  perhaps  my  daughter  would 
purchase  his  right  in  it,  at  what  should  be  judged  by 
an  impartial  umpire  a  reasonable  rate.  The  portrait 
of  her  mother  by  Opie  is  of  course  my  daughter's  : 
&  I  should  not  wish  that  of  Mr.  Holer  oft  to  be 
brought  to  the  hammer.  It  is  further  my  earnest 
desire  that  my  daughter  would  have  the  goodness  to 
look  over  the  manuscripts  that  shall  be  found  in  my 
own  hand-writing,  &  decide  which  of  them  are  fit 
to  be  printed,  consigning  the  rest  to  the  flames. 

I  know  not  whether  any  of  the  letters  received  by 
me,  will  be  found  proper  to  accompany  my  worthier 
papers.  Let  her  judge. 

Unless  any  substantial  reason  should  be  offered  for 
a  different  destination,  it  is  my  desire  that  my  mortal 
remains  should  be  deposited  as  near  as  may  be,  to 
those  of  the  author  of  A  Vindication  of  the  Rights  of 
Woman,  in  St.  Pancras'  Churchyard. 



It  was  Shelley's  wish  that  his  son  should  go  to  a 
public  school,  and  Mary  suggested,  at  the  end  of  1830, 
that  he  should  be  sent  to  Eton.  Sir  Timothy,  however, 
would  not  hear  of  it,  as  the  place  aroused  painful 
memories.  In  regard  to  this  proposal,  he  said  it 
"  would  be  highly  improper,  his  Poor  Father's  being 
there  would  make  his  life  very  unpleasant.  From 
experience  I  am  aware  whatever  a  boy  does  at  a 
Public  School  is  remember'd  for  ages.  He  had  better 
remain  at  present  where  he  is."  Harrow  was  then 
proposed,  but  was  rejected  at  first  as  being  too  near 
London  ;  but  his  mother  subsequently  arranged  that 
he  should  go  there,  and  he  entered  the  school  at 
Michaelmas  1832.  Mrs.  Shelley  went  to  live  at  the 
town  on  the  hill  in  the  following  April,  so  as  to  be 
near  Percy,  who  liked  the  school  and  progressed  ;  but 
not  so  his  mother,  who  was  taken  ill  there  and  after- 
wards pined  for  the  society  of  her  friends  in  London. 

Mr.  Whitton,  who  had  commenced  these  arrange- 
ments for  Percy's  education,  did  not  live  to  see  them 
completed  :  he  had  been  ailing  for  some  time,  and  he 
died  in  July  1832.  Sir  Timothy  strongly  disapproved 
of  Mary's  choice,  and  grumbled  at  the  expense  that 
she  had  incurred  in  placing  the  boy  in  a  Master's 
house.  He  thought  that  she  might  have  obtained 
equal  advantages  at  Westminster,  Merchant  Taylors', 
St.  Paul's,  or  one  of  the  metropolitan  schools,  and  he 

Shelley  in  England 

declined  to  listen  further  to  her  "  importunities  "  for 
further  help.  But  she  persisted,  and  Sir  Timothy 
then  pointed  out  that  the  sum  of  £6000  which  he  had 
agreed  to  advance  would  soon  be  exhausted.  "  She 
may  not  be  aware,"  he  wrote  to  Mr.  Gregson,  Whitton's 
successor,  in  May  1833,  "  of  what  may  be  the  residue, 
and  she  observ'd  too,  was  I  afraid  of  losing  my  money. 
Haughty  Dame  !  " 

Mary  had  evidently  thought  of  putting  her  son 
into  the  law,  as  Mr.  Gregson  observed,  in  a  letter  to  her 
on  December  5,  1835,  that  it  was  a  very  good  thing 
to  be  a  barrister  if  one  possessed  industry  and  perse- 
verance, but  that  it  was  a  very  laborious  profession, 
and  without  those  qualifications  success  could  not  be 
expected  in  it.  He  reminded  her  that  the  bulk  of 
the  property  that  Percy  would  inherit  was  amassed 
by  one  of  his  ancestors  who  was  a  lawyer  in  the  Temple,1 
and  he  added  that  he  should  be  very  glad  to  see  Percy 
imitate  the  example.  Percy  was  not,  however,  destined 
to  be  a  lawyer.  His  mother  arranged  that  he  should 
leave  Harrow  at  Easter  1836,  and  she  placed  him 
with  a  tutor,  Mr.  Morrison,  vicar  of  Stoneleigh,  near 
Leamington.  In  writing  to  Gregson  of  her  intention, 
she  said : 

"  Percy   is   in   robust    health — well-grown — he  has 

1  Edward  Shelley  of  Field  Place,  Warnham  (the  testator  of  1747)  was 
of  the  Middle  Temple. 



good  spirits  and  a  good  temper.  I  wish  Sir  Tim 
would  see  him  before  he  goes.  It  is  hard  that  going 
into  another  county — where  I  am  promised  that  he 
shall  be  kindly  received — that  he  should  go  without 
any  mark  of  kindness  from  his  Father's  family,  who 
were  not  always  estranged  from  him.  He  himself 
remembers  that  his  Grandfather  was  at  one  time 
kind  enough  to  notice  him,  and  wonders  why  there 
should  be  any  change  now,  when  the  notice  would 
benefit  him  more." 

The  care  that  Mary  had  bestowed  on  Percy's  train- 
ing and  education  was  productive  of  happy  results. 
The  youth,  who  had  a  good  deal,  of  the  Godwin 
placidness  in  his  character,  seems  to  have  shown 
himself  worthy  of  his  mother's  solicitude.  Trelawny 
had  observed  in  a  letter  to  Mary,  that  "it  is  well 
for  mamma,  Percy  has  so  much  of  her  temperate 
blood.  When  us  three  meet,  we  shall  be  able  to  ice 
the  wine  by  placing  it  between  us  ;  that  will  be  nice, 
as  the  girls  say."  * 

It  is  interesting  to  obtain  a  view  of  Shelley's  son 
as  he  appeared  to  his  mother  at  the  age  of  seventeen 
and  a  half  :  a  greater  contrast  to  his  father  could  not 
be  conceived.  The  description  is  taken  from  a  letter 
which  she  wrote  to  Trelawny  from  Brighton  on 
January  3,  1837  : 

"  Percy  arrived  yesterday,  having  rather  whetted 
than  satisfied  his  appetite  by  going  seven  times  to  a 

1  E.  J.  Trelawny  to  Mary  W.  Shelley,  Hastings,  Sep.  25,  1836. 


Shelley  in  England 

play.  He  plays  like  Apollo  on  the  flageolet,  and  like 
Apollo  is  self-taught.  Jane  thinks  him  a  miracle  ! 
it  is  very  odd.  He  got  a  frock-coat  at  Mettes,  and, 
if  you  had  not  disappointed  with  your  handkerchief, 
he  would  have  been  complete  ;  he  is  a  good  deal 
grown,  though  not  tall  enough  to  satisfy  me  ;  how- 
ever, there  is  time  yet.  He  is  quite  a  child  still,  full 
of  theatres  and  balloons  and  music,  yet  I  think  there 
is  a  gentleness  about  him  which  shows  the  advent 
of  the  reign  of  petticoats — how  I  dread  it." 

Percy  Shelley  subsequently  went  up  to  Trinity 
College,  Cambridge,  where  he  graduated  B.A.  in 
1841.  We  get  another  glimpse  of  him,  now  an  under- 
graduate, and  as  he  appeared  in  September  1838  to 
Gregson,  who  wrote  of  him  to  Sir  Timothy  :  "He 
is  rather  thick-set ;  but  good-looking,  healthy  and 
well-mannered. ' ' 

Although  the  publication  of  Mary's  romance  The 
Last  Man  had  been  attended  with  unpleasant  con- 
sequences, she  did  not  abandon  the  writing  of  fiction. 
Her  historical  romance  Perkin  Warbeck,  published  in 
1829,  was  followed  in  1835  by  a  modern  novel  entitled 
Lodore,  which,  as  Professor  Dowden  discovered,  con- 
tains a  veiled  autobiography  describing  the  author's 
privations  in  London  during  the  year  1814. 

With  the  single  exception  of  Frankenstein,  no  one 
to-day  reads  Mary  Shelley's  novels,  which  have  passed 
to  the  limbo  of  the  forgotten.  Her  literary  labours 



in  another  direction  have  met  with  better  fortune. 
We  have  seen  that  when  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  put 
pressure  on  Mary  to  suppress  her  husband's  Pos- 
thumous Poems,  he  exacted  a  promise  from  her  that 
during  his  life  she  would  not  attempt  to  bring  Shelley's 
name  before  the  public.  She  kept  this  promise, 
although  in  1835  she  wrote  to  tell  Mrs.  Gisborne  that 
she  had  received  an  offer  of  £600  for  an  edition  of 
Shelley's  works  with  a  Life  and  notes.  She  added, 
"  I  am  afraid  it  cannot  be  arranged,  yet  at  least,  and 
the  Life  is  out  of  the  question." 

In  the  early  eighteen-thirties  the  tide  was  already 
turning  in  favour  of  Shelley's  poetry,  and,  although 
there  was  no  authoritative  edition  of  his  works, 
collections  of  his  poems  were  being  circulated  by 
unauthorised  publishers.  The  Galignanis  of  Paris  had 
issued  in  1829  a  handsome  volume  containing  Shelley's 
poems  with  those  of  Coleridge  and  Keats,  together 
with  short  memoirs  and  portraits  of  each  poet.  The 
portrait  of  Shelley  was  from  Miss  Curran's  picture, 
which  was  then  in  Mary's  possession,  and  it  is  probable 
that  she  assisted  the  Paris  publishers  in  the  arrange- 
ment of  her  husband's  poems.  Among  other  editions 
of  Shelley's  poems  were  two  volumes  of  selections 
brought  out  in  1827  with  the  imprint  of  one  Benbow, 
a  notorious  London  piratical  printer.  A  volume  of 
Benbow's  issue  fell  into  Robert  Browning's  hands 

Shelley  in  England 

when  a  boy,  and  the  book,  which  was  recently  sold 
at  the  sale  of  the  poet's  library,  bore  evidences  that 
it  had  been  the  object  of  the  deepest  study. 

By  the  year  1838,  then,  the  time  had  fully  arrived 
for  the  publication  of  a  collected  edition  of  Shelley's 
poetry,  under  the  editorship  of  some  person  of  autho- 
rity. The  choice  naturally  fell  to  Mrs.  Shelley,  and 
she  again  ventured  to  approach  Sir  Timothy  Shelley's 
legal  adviser,  and  with  some  hope  that  her  plea  might 
be  granted.  Mr.  Gregson,  who  was  apparently  a  man 
of  broader  views  than  his  predecessor  Mr.  Whitton, 
wrote  on  August  4,  1838,  to  Sir  Timothy  : 

"  Mrs.  Shelley  writes  to  me,  '  When  I  returned  to 
England  nearly  fifteen  years  ago,  Sir  Timothy  made  it 
a  condition  with  me  that  I  should  not  publish  Shelley's 
Poems.  I  complied.  His  motive  was  that  he  did 
not  wish  his  poetry  republished ;  but  this  has  not 
prevented  the  publication,  but  only  prevented  me 
from  receiving  any  benefit  from  it.  Many  pirated 
editions  have  been  published.  There  is  now  a  question 
of  another  edition,  which  if  I  were  allowed  to  carry 
on  myself  would  be  very  advantageous  to  me.  I  wish 
therefore  to  learn  whether  I  might.'  I  am  unable  to 
answer  this  inquiry,  and  have  not  said  that  I  should 
write  to  you  on  the  subject,  but  if  you  have  any  wish 
be  pleased  to  inform  me.  The  '  March  of  Intellect ' 
since  1815  has  probably  placed  the  rising  generation 
in  a  situation  to  be  little  damaged  by  this  poetry, 
which  I  have  read  of,  but  never  read." 



Sir  Timothy  granted  Mary's  request,  on  condition 
that  she  did  not  publish  a  memoir  of  Shelley  with 
his  poems.  She  overcame  this  difficulty,  however,  by 
contributing  a  series  of  valuable  notes  to  the  poems, 
which  contain  many  biographical  facts,  and  constitute 
one  of  the  most  important  sources  of  information  with 
regard  to  the  poet's  life  and  works.  In  her  preface 
she  explained  the  aims  that  guided  her  in  the  prepara- 
tion of  the  work.  She  said  : 

"  Obstacles  have  long  existed  to  my  presenting  the 
public  with  a  perfect  edition  of  Shelley's  Poems. 
These  being  at  last  happily  removed,  I  hasten  to  fulfil 
an  important  duty — that  of  giving  the  productions  of 
a  sublime  genius  to  the  world,  with  all  the  correct- 
ness possible,  and  of,  at  the  same  time,  detailing  the 
history  of  those  productions,  as  they  sprung,  living 
and  warm,  from  his  heart  and  brain.  I  abstain  from 
any  remark  on  the  occurrences  of  his  private  life  ; 
except  inasmuch  as  the  passions  which  they  engen- 
dered, his  poetry.  This  is  not  the  time  to  relate  the 
truth ;  and  I  should  reject  any  colouring  of  the  truth." 

In  dealing  with  the  text  of  Queen  Mob  a  difficulty 
arose,  which  Mary  explained  in  the  following  letter : 

Mary  W.  Shelley  to  Leigh  Hunt 

December  12,  1838. 

MY  DEAR  HUNT, — I  am  about  to  publish  an  edition 
of  our  Shelley's  Poems,  Sir  Tim  giving  leave  if  there 


Shelley  in   England 

is  no  biography.  I  want  a  copy  of  the  original  edition 
of  Queen  Mob  to  correct  the  press  from — it  must  be 
the  original — it  would  not  go  to  the  Printers,  but  only 
[be]  used  to  correct  from.  Have  you  one — or  do  you 
know  who  has — Has  Miss  Kent  ?  I  should  be  so 
grateful  for  the  loan.  Moxon  wants  me  to  leave  out 
the  sixth  part  as  too  atheistical.  I  don't  like  Atheism 
— nor  does  he  now.  Yet  I  hate  mutilation — what  do 
you  say  ?  How  have  you  been,  and  when  does  your 
Play  come  out  ?  With  love  to  Marianne, 

Yours  ever, 


Let  me  have  the  book  quickly — if  you  have  it — as 
the  press  is  waiting. 

Mrs.  Shelley's  edition  of  her  husband's  poems  was 
issued  in  four  small  volumes  (the  first  of  which  came 
out  early  in  1839),  and  it  was  dedicated,  with  the 
date  of  January  20,  to  Percy  Florence  Shelley,  "  by 
his  affectionate  mother,  Mary  Wollstonecraft  Shelley." 
She  had  yielded  to  the  wishes  of  Edward  Moxon  her 
publisher,  and  omitted  from  the  text  of  Queen  Mob 
the  greater  part  of  Canto  6,  the  whole  of  Canto  7,  and 
a  considerable  portion  of  the  notes.  Mary  soon  had 
reason  to  regret  her  compliance,  and  wrote  in  her 
diary  on  February  12,  1839,  that  she  wished  she  had 
resisted  her  publisher's  request,  but  she  had  given  way 
when  she  was  told  that  the  inclusion  of  certain  portions 
of  Queen  Mob  "  would  injure  the  copyright  of  all  the 



volumes."  She  had  consulted  Hogg,  Hunt,  and  Pea- 
cock, and  they  all  said  she  had  a  right  to  do  as  she 
liked,  and  they  themselves  offered  no  objections. 
When  the  book  was  published,  her  friends  seemed 
to  change  their  views.  Trelawny  sent  back  the 
volume  containing  Queen  Mob  to  Moxon  in  a  rage, 
on  seeing  that  the  poem  had  not  been  reprinted  in 
its  entirety.  Hogg  wrote  to  Mary  an  insulting  letter 
because  the  dedication  to  Harriet  in  Queen  Mob  had 
been  omitted. 

Mary  confided  to  her  diary  that  Hogg  as  well  as 
others  had  misunderstood  her.  She  said  that  when 
a  copy  of  Clarke's  pirated  reprint  of  Queen  Mob  had 
reached  Shelley,  in  the  year  1821,  while  he  was  at 
the  Bagni  di  Pisa,  he  was  gratified  to  see  that  the 
dedication  to  Harriet  had  been  omitted.1  The  recollec- 
tion of  this  incident  had  actuated  her  to  leave  out 
the  dedication  from  her  reprint.  "  It  was  to  do  him 
honour,"  she  wrote,  "  what  could  it  be  to  me  ?  There 
are  other  verses  I  should  well  like  to  obliterate  for 
ever,  but  they  will  be  printed  ;  and  any  to  her  could 
in  no  way  tend  to  my  discomfort,  or  gratify  one  un- 
generous feeling.  They  shall  be  restored,  though  I 
do  not  feel  easy  as  to  the  good  I  do  Shelley.  I  may 
have  been  mistaken."  Perhaps  one  of  the  poems  that 

1  Clarke's  reprint  of  Queen  Mab  did  contain  the  dedication  to  Harriet, 
but  it  is  absent  from  some  copies  and  was  lacking  in  the  one  that 
Shelley  saw. 


Shelley  in  England 

Mary  might  have  wished  to  suppress  was  Epipsychidion, 
which,  however,  she  bravely  printed,  but  without  a 
word  of  comment. 

A  new  edition l  of  the  poems  was  in  requisition 
before  the  end  of  the  year,  and  Mrs.  Shelley  prevailed 
on  Moxon  to  let  her  restore  the  omitted  passages 
from  Queen  Mab,  and  the  dedication.  She  made  some 
other  small  additions  to  and  corrections  in  the  text, 
but  she  also  printed,  for  the  first  time,  Peter  Bell  the 
Third,  and  included  Swellfoot  the  Tyrant,  which  was 
entirely  new  to  the  public ;  though  issued  in  1820 
during  Shelley's  lifetime,  it  had  been  promptly  "  stifled 
at  the  very  dawn  of  its  existence  by  the  Society  for 
the  Suppression  of  Vice."  Although  this  new  edition 
satisfied  Shelley's  friends,  and  drew  from  Trelawny 
a  friendly  letter  to  Moxon  of  approval^and  regret  for 
having  written  his  former  hasty  remonstrance,  it  led 
to  a  Government  prosecution  in  1841  of  Moxon  for 
publishing  Queen  Mab.  The  case,  however,  was  decided 
in  favour  of  the  publisher,  who  was  ably  defended  by 
Sir  Thomas  Noon  Talfourd. 

As  soon  as  Mary  had  prepared  the  new  edition  of 
Shelley's  poems,  she  collected  some  of  his  prose  writings, 
among  which  were  The  Defence  of  Poetry,  the  transla- 

1  This  edition  of  Shelley's  works  in  royal  8vo  contained  the  frontispiece 
portrait  of  the  poet  which  appeared  in  the  four- volume  edition,  also  a 
view  of  his  tomb.  On  this  plate  is  the  date  of  1 839,  the  title-page  bears 
the  date  of  1840,  and  the  author's  postscript  is  dated  Nov.  6,  1839. 



tions  from  Plato,  and  a  selection  of  his  admirable 
letters  from  Italy ;  these  were  published  in  two 
volumes  in  1840.  The  severe  strain  of  editing  these 
works  of  Shelley  brought  on  an  illness  in  the  spring 
of  1839,  which  Mary  bore  with  fortitude,  and  from 
which  she  happily  soon  recovered.  About  the  middle 
of  the  following  year,  having  completed  her  work,  she 
was  able  to  leave  England,  with  Percy  and  a  College 
friend  of  his,  on  the  first  of  many  tours  on  the  Con- 
tinent, which  is  described  in  her  Rambles  in  Germany 
and  Italy.  This,  her  last  work,  was  published  in  1844. 
The  travellers  visited  some  of  those  scenes  familiar  to 
Mary  in  former  and  happier  times — the  Villa  Diodati, 
Byron's  residence  in  1816,  and  the  Maison  Chapuis, 
where  Shelley  and  Mary  stayed  in  that  year  and 
where  she  began  to  write  Frankenstein.  The  houses 
had  remained  as  they  were  formerly,  but  Shelley, 
Byron,  and  her  little  William  were  gone,  while  Clare 
had  drifted  away.  The  contemplation  of  these  changes 
no  doubt  produced  some  of  those  melancholy  thoughts 
to  which  Mary  was  too  readily  prone. 

The  pecuniary  circumstances  of  Mrs.  Shelley  and 
her  son  were  now  much  improved.  Percy  came  of 
age  in  1840,  and  in  the  following  year,  when  he  took 
his  degree,  his  grandfather  made  him  an  allowance  of 
£400  a  year  as  a  gift  without  any  condition  for  its 
repayment.  Mr,  Gregson,  in  writing  to  Sir  Timothy 


Shelley  in   England 

on  February  20,  1841,  spoke  of  his  kindness  to  his 
grandson,  whom  he  hoped  and  believed  would  be 
grateful.  Percy  had  called  on  the  lawyer,  who  had 
given  him  his  advice  in  regard  to  taking  up  some 
useful  occupation.  The  young  man  disliked  both  the 
Church  and  the  army,  and  there  only  remained  the 
law,  which,  as  Mr.  Gregson  had  before  observed,  was 
very  "  uphill  work."  He  recommended  a  course  of 
reading  preparatory  to  entering  a  conveyancer's 
chambers,  in  order  to  know  the  nature  and  incidents 
of  the  property  he  was  to  manage,  and  to  fill  the  com- 
mission of  peace,  if  he  did  no  more. 

Much  of  Sir  Timothy's  correspondence  with  Gregson 
during  the  latter  years  of  his  life  was  concerned  with 
Stephenson's  railway,  which  ran  through  a  part  of 
the  Shelley  property.  The  old  baronet  died  on  April  24, 
1844.  One  of  Sir  Percy  Shelley's  first  acts  on  suc- 
ceeding to  the  title  was  to  pay  the  legacies  under  his 
father's  will,  and  to  carry  out  Shelley's  intention  of 
settling  an  income  on  Leigh  Hunt.  Mary  Shelley  died 
on  February  i,  1851,  at  Chester  Square,  where  she 
had  kept  house  with  her  son  until  his  marriage  in  1848, 
to  Jane,  daughter  of  Mr.  Thomas  Gibson,  and  widow 
of  the  Hon.  Charles  Robert  St.  John.  Sir  Percy 
settled  near  Bournemouth  about  the  year  1850,  having 
purchased  the  Boscombe  Manor  estates,  and  he  con- 
tinued to  live  there  for  the  remainder  of  his  life.  If 


kind  permission  of  Mr.  Walter  Withall,  who  took  this  photoaraph  on  the 
leads  of  the  Shelley  Theatre,  Tite  Street,  Chelsea,  in  1881. 


To  face  page  624. 


he  did  not  specially  inherit  from  his  parents  their 
literary  gifts,  he  possessed,  like  his  father,  a  passion 
for  sailing.  At  his  death  he  was  one  of  the  oldest 
members  of  the  Royal  Yacht  Squadron,  and  he  had 
owned  successively  about  a  dozen  yachts,  the  names 
of  which  were  The  Mary,  Wildfire,  Ginevra,  Jane, 
Enchantress,  Flirt,  Nokken,  Queen  Mab,  Extravaganza, 
Wren,  and  Oceana.  The  last-named  was  in  his  pos- 
session at  the  time  of  his  death,  and  was  a  boat  of  some 
250  tons.  This  yacht  was  originally  named  Thais,  but 
Sir  Percy  said  that  he  had  given  her  a  more  respectable 
reputation  by  renaming  her  Oceana  as  a  tribute  to 
Stevenson.  Sir  Percy  was  very  fond  of  the  Mediter- 
ranean, and  spent  many  winters  cruising  from  Gibraltar 
to  the  Greek  islands  and  the  Black  Sea,  but  he  was 
specially  attracted  to  the  Gulf  of  Spezzia,  in  the  waters 
of  which  his  father  had  met  his  death. 

When  he  was  at  home,  Sir  Percy  engaged  much  of 
his  time  in  the  production  of  plays  from  his  own 
pen  at  one  of  his  private  theatres  ;  either  at  that 
which  he  had  built  at  Boscombe  Manor  or  at  the 
theatre  in  Tite  Street,  near  Shelley  House,  Chelsea 
Embankment.  He  not  only  provided  the  plays  him- 
self, but  he  composed  the  music  and  painted  the 
scenery  with  great  ability.  Sir  Percy  was  a  painter 
of  considerable  gifts,  which  were  well  displayed  in 
his  drop  scenes.  At  the  opening  of  the  Tite  Street 

625  2  K 

Shelley  in  England 

theatre  one  of  his  drop  scenes,  used  for  the  first  time 
on  that  occasion,  was  described  as  "  Shelley's  Last 
Home,"  and  showed  the  poet's  house  at  Lerici  in  the 
Bay  of  Spezzia. 

These  amateur  performances,  in  which  Sir  Percy 
and  Lady  Shelley  frequently  took  part,  were  often 
given  for  some  good  cause,  for  he  was  a  liberal  supporter 
of  the  charitable  and  religious  institutions  at  Bourne- 
mouth, and  soon  after  the  Baptist  Chapel  was  built 
at  Boscombe  he  was  to  be  seen  worshipping  there 
from  time  to  time.  He  has  been  described  to  me 
by  one  who  knew  him  for  years  as  a  versatile  and  a 
very  lovable  man ;  but  one  of  his  peculiarities  was 
his  disinclination  to  talk  about  his  father. 

A  characteristic  anecdote  may  be  told  of  Sir  Percy, 
who  is  said  to  have  remarked  in  a  casual  manner  to 
a  friend  with  whom  he  was  driving  across  the  Serpen- 
tine, that  "  that  is  the  place  where  my  father's  first 
wife  drowned  herself."  He  would  sometimes  show 
his  visitors  at  Boscombe  Manor  the  discoloured  little 
Sophocles  that  was  found  on  Shelley's  body  and  the 
eleven  companion  volumes  bound  in  white  vellum 
close  by  it,  which  offered  a  striking  contrast. 

Lady  Shelley  was  an  enthusiast  where  the  poet  or  his 
mother  was  concerned,  and  her  name  figures  as  the 
editor  on  the  title-page  of  The  Shelley  Memorials, 
although  that  book  is  said  to  have  been  the  work  of 



either  the  late  Dr.  Richard  Garnett  or  Thomas  Hook- 
ham,  Shelley's  old  friend  and  correspondent,  the  Bond 
Street  publisher,  who  in  later  years  assisted  Sir  Percy 
Shelley  in  the  purchase  of  letters  by  his  father. 

Among  his  friends  Sir  Percy  counted  Robert  Louis 
Stevenson,  who  was  living  at  Bournemouth  shortly 
before  he  left  England  for  the  South  Seas,  and  he 
dedicated  The  Master  of  Ballantrae  to  him,  with  the 
following  inscription,  "  To  Sir  Percy  Florence  and 
Lady  Shelley  as  fellow  sea-farers  and  sea-lovers " 
with  the  author,  from  "  the  loud  shores  of  a  sub- 
tropical island  near  upon  10,000  miles  from  Boscombe 
Chine  and  Manor  ;  scenes  which  rise  before  me  as  I 
write,  along  with  faces  and  voices  of  my  friends.  .  .  . 
Well,  I  am  for  the  sea  once  more  ;  no  doubt  Sir  Percy 
also.  Let  us  make  the  signal  B.R.D."  The  dedica- 
tion is  dated  May  17,  1889.  Sir  Percy  lived  to  read 
the  book,  but  he  was  in  failing  health  during  that 
year.  He  passed  away  at  Boscombe  on  December  5, 
and  was  buried  in  the  grave  where  his  mother  lies, 
at  St.  Peter's,  Bournemouth,  on  December  10,  1889, 
having  just  completed  his  seventieth  year. 



OXFORD  (see  p.  144) 

John  Slatter  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

January  9,  1823. 

SIR,— In  consequence  of  your  son's  death  I  again  applied 
to  Mr.  Longdill  to  settle  my  account  against  your  son  but 
can  obtain  no  answer,  so  I  have  inclosed  his  acknowledge- 
ment of  the  money  but  likewise  his  reference  to  Mr.  Longdill 
when  resident  at  Marlom  to  you,  the  repayment  of  which 
I  have  your  honour  as  the  circumstance  of  your  son's 
being  introduced  into  my  family  is  best  known  to  yourself, 
and  remain  yours, 


Plumber  and  Glazier, 
High  Street. 

[In  Sir  Timothy's  writing  on  the  letter  is  the  following :] 

"  Tolerably  impudent. 

"  Sir  T.  S.  lodged  with  Mr.  Slatter's  Family  the  whole 
time  he  was  at  Oxford  and  when  he  went  there  occasionally, 
and  Sir  T.  S.  did  desire  Mr.  Slatter  to  advise  his  son  against 
any  irregularities  he  might  see  particularly  not  to  get  into 
debt,  for  which  there  was  no  occasion  as  he  had  an  ample 


Shelley  in  England 

Mr.  Whitton  to  J.  Slatter 

January  15,  1823. 

SIR,— Sir  Tim  Shelley  has  sent  me  your  letter  and  the 
papers  enclosed  therein  and  if  you  will  send  a  person  for 
them  the  same  shall  be  delivered.  If  Sir  Tim  Shelley 
did  make  his  son  known  to  you  it  was  not  with  the  wish 
that  you  should  lend  him  money  as  Sir  Tim  well  knew 
what  was  proper  for  his  son  to  spend  and  that  he  allowed. 

The  officious  interference  of  you  and  of  others  did  a 
most  serious  injury  to  the  Gent  that  is  now  no  more— it 
led  him  into  expenses  and  a  Society  and  conduct  the  very 
reverse  of  what  Sir  Tim  wished. 

It  may  therefore  be  unnecessary  for  me  to  say  that  you 
must  take  your  own  conduct  to  recover  what  you  say 
you  advanced  to  Mr.  Shelley,  as  Sir  Tim  declines  making 
any  payment  to  you  on  account  of  it  and  any  further 
application  to  him  or  to  me  on  the  subject  will  be  considered 
an  intrusion.— Yr.  Hble.  Servt., 


[Envelope  addressed] 


Plumber  and  Glazier, 

Henry  Slatter  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

August  13,  1831. 

SIR,— It  is  with  feelings  of  great  diffidence  that  I  venture 
to  approach  you  knowing  that  the  subject  matter  must 
be  painful  to  a  Father's  feelings,  but  having  suffered  very 


Appendix   I 

much  in  consequence  of  a  honest  endeavour  to  save  your 
son  from  flying  to  Jews  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  money 
at  an  enormous  rate  of  interest,  I  therefore  lay  the  case 
before  you. 

Your  Son  while  at  College  became  acquainted  with  a 
person  of  the  name  of  Brown  but  who  was  living  at  Oxford 
under  the  assumed  name  of  Bird.  Of  him  he  agreed  to 
purchase  a  work  of  his  writing  for  £600.  Mr.  Shelley 
applied  to  us  to  procure  the  money  for  him  and  he  would 
repay  us  when  he  became  of  age,  or  he  should  have  to  go 
to  London  and  borrow  money  of  the  money-lenders  on 
post-obit  bonds :  this  we  dissuaded  him  from  and  endeavoured 
to  raise  the  money  for  him  as  he  agreed  we  should  be  the 
Printers  and  Publishers  of  his  work.  £200  of  this  sum 
was  paid  out  of  our  pockets  in  cash  and  the  remainder  we 
became  joint  security  with  him  to  a  person  of  the  name  of 
Hedges  for  £400  and  were  arrested  for  the  amount  at  the 
suit  of  Hedges  by  Mr.  Graham,  Solicitor  of  Abingdon, 
with  Law  expenses  and  Principal  and  interest  on  the  whole 
sum.  We  have  lost  upwards  of  £1300. 

The  whole  is  justly  our  due,  but  we  only  ask  the  Bond 
and  interest  thereon  having  suffered  both  in  body  and  mind 
so  much  in  consequence  of  it.  I  remain  at  Worthing  three 
weeks  longer  my  family  being  here  for  the  benefit  of  their 
health  after  which  I  shall  be  in  Oxford,  but  a  letter  addressed 
at  the  latter  place  would  not  at  all  times  find  me. 

I  shall  be  most  ready  to  wait  on  you  to  give  you  any 
further  information  or  to  show  you  the  bond  which  is  now 
in  my  possession. — I  have  the  honor  to  be,  Sir,  your  very 
obedient  Servt., 


etc.,  etc.,  etc. 

Shelley  in  England 


Bond  to  John  Hedges,  dated  25  March  1811, 

of  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  Esq.         .        .        400    o    o 
Interest  on  ditto  at  5  per  cent,  per  annum 

to  25  June  1831     .  .        .        405    o    o 

805    o    o 

The  above  sums  have  been  paid  for  and  on  Acct.  of 
Percy  Bysshe  Shelley,  Esq.,  by  Joseph  Munday  and  Henry 
Slatter,  late  Co-Partners  at  Oxford,  Printers  and  Book- 
sellers, in  consequence  of  proceedings  against  them  by 
Wm.  Graham,  Esq.,  Solicitor,  Abingdon,  at  the  suit  of 

The  following  is  a  later  statement  of  the  account  sent 
after  the  death  of  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  in  1844  :— 

March  25,  1811. 

To  Money  advanced  to  Mr.  Bird  for  his  MS. 
work  on  Sweden,  viz.,  £200  in  Notes  of 
Hand  and  £400  raised  by  joint  Bond  of 
John  Hedges,  and  paid  by  the  late 
Joseph  Munday  and  his  surviving  Part- 
ner, Henry  Slatter,  on  account  of  Percy 
Bysshe  Shelley,  Esq.,  viz.  .  .  .  £600  o  o 

Sept.  29.  Interest  33  and  \  years  thereon     .      1005    o    o 

1605    o    o 
[Endorsed]  P.  B.  Shelley,  Esq.  (decd-) 

Mr.  Henry  Slatter,  Bookseller,  Oxford. 



(see  p.  396) 

In  Roberts'  first  letter  written  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 
after  the  death  of  P.  B.  S.  he  refers  to  a  loan  to  the  poet 
of  £6  only.  In  the  second  letter  to  Peacock,  after  Sir 
Timothy  Shelley's  death,  he  asks  for  £30.  Whether  this 
sum  represents  compound  interest  on  £6  for  twenty  years 
or  not,  it  is  impossible  to  say.  The  Owen  Williams  men- 
tioned in  the  third  letter  was  a  brother  of  Shelley's  corre- 
spondent John  Williams,  to  whom  he  wrote  from  Tanyrallt 
on  April  14,  1814,  "We  are  in  immediate  want  of  money, 
could  you  borrow  £25  in  my  name  to  paying  little  debts  ? 
I  know  your  brother  could  lend  me  that  sum.  I  think 
you  could  ask  him  on  such  an  occasion  as  this." 

William  Roberts  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

February  7,  1824. 

SIR,— I  took  the  liberty  of  writing  to  you  a  few  years 
ago  respecting  Six  pounds  which  your  son  was  indebted 
to  me.  I  assure  you  it  is  a  very  hard  case  with  me  to  be 
without  the  money ;  really  it  would  be  an  object  to  me  now, 
if  you  would  be  kind  enough  to  enclose  them.  As  your 
son  is  dead  I  have  no  other  person  to  apply  to  but  yourself  ; 
you  will,  I  trust,  consider  the  justice  of  the  claim  and  favor 


Shelley  in  England 

me  with  an  answer  when  convenient.— I  am,  Sir,  your 
obedient  servt., 


William  Roberts  to  T.  L.  Peacock 

June  12,  1844. 

SIR,— Having  lately  seen  an  account  of  the  death  of 
Sir  Timothy  Shelley,  may  I  be  allowed  to  hope  you  will 
pardon  the  liberty  of  my  troubling  you  on  the  following 

About  30  years  ago  since,  his  son  Mr.  P.  B.  Shelley 
was  arrested  in  this  town  for  a  sum  of  money  which  he 
owed,  and  he  would  have  been  put  in  Gaol  if  I  had  not 
bailed  him  for  the  amount.  Thus  our  acquaintance 
commenced,  and  soon  after  he  sent  for  me  to  attend  His 
family  at  Tremadoc,  20  miles  from  this  place.  I  also 
lent  him  some  money  which  he  never  paid,  so  he  left 
the  country  £30  in  my  debt.  When  I  called  upon  you 
at  the  India  House  last  Septr.  you  encouraged  me  with 
the  hope  that  I  should  have  this  £30  in  the  event 
of  your  surviving  Sir  Timothy.  The  whole  therefore  I 
beg  respectfully  to  submit  to  your  sense  of  justice.  If 
I  can  be  of  any  use  to  you  in  this  country  I  hope  you  will 
not  hesitate  to  command  my  service. 

My  kindest  regards  to  Mrs.  Peacock.  The  favour  of 
an  answer  would  greatly  oblige,  Sir,  your  very  humble 



N.B.—It  may  be  proper  to  observe  that  Mr.  Shelley 
paid  the  money  for  which  he  was  arrested. 

I  suppose  the  Executors  of  Owen  Williams,  the  Anglesea 
farmer,  have  applied  to  you. 


Appendix  II 

Hugh  Owen  to  T.  L.  Peacock 

December  12,  1844. 

DEAR  SIR,— According  to  the  kind  permission  which 
you  gave  me  this  morning  I  now  beg  to  lay  before  you 
the  claim  of  my  old  friend  and  neighbour  Mrs.  Williams, 
the  Widow  of  the  late  Owen  Williams  of  Gelliniog  Wen, 
Parish  of  Llangeinwen,  Anglesey. 

Many  years  ago,  I  believe  upwards  of  30  (I  find  I 
have  no  memorandum  of  the  date),  Owen  Williams,  then 
residing  at  Tydden  Newborough,  Anglesey,  advanced 
on  the  application  of  Mr.  Williams  of  Tyhurit  ir  Bwlch 
Tremmadock,  to  Mr.  Percy  Shelley  the  sum  of  £100,  as 
security  for  which  Mr.  Shelley  gave  to  him  (Owen  Williams) 
a  Bond  stipulating  for  the  payment  of  £200  on  the  death 
of  Mr.  Shelley's  father  and  grandfather. 

No  part  of  this  money,  which  was  the  hard  earnings  of 
a  very  small  farmer,  has  ever  been  repaid :  neither  has 
any  interest  ever  been  received. 

The  payment  of  the  money  now  would  be  of  essential 
service  to  the  poor  Widow,  and  I  venture  to  solicit  your 
kind  interference  on  her  behalf  with  those  who  have  the 
management  of  the  Shelley  Family. 

I  have  the  honour  to  be,  Dear  Sir,  your  faithful  servt., 


etc.,  etc.,  etc. 



(see  page  408) 

John  Dumbreck  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

EDINBURGH,  July  4,  1823. 

SIR,— I  use  the  freedom  of  prefixing  state  of  Account 
due  to  me  by  your  late  son,  John  B.  Shelley,  Esq.,  con- 
tracted while  in  Edinburgh  in  1813. 

I  have  frequently  applied  for  payment  to  Mr.  Shelley's 
Agents  in  London  (Messrs.  Londill  &  Butter  field)  who 
delayed  paying  on  the  ground  of  Mr.  Shelley's  being  abroad 
and  their  having  no  instructions  to  that  effect. 

Mr.  William  Dumbrick  of  the  Hotel  St.  Andrews  Sqr. 
here  is  bound  to  me  for  the  debt,  who  when  in  London 
some  time  ago  called  on  Messrs.  Londill  &  Butterfield 
with  the  Account,  who  agreed  to  pay  it,  but  his  stay  in 
Town  being  exceedingly  limited  he  had  not  time  to  call 
on  these  Gentlemen  again. 

Mr.  Dumbrick  agreed  to  see  my  Account  paid  in  con- 
sequence of  my  declining  to  part  with  Mr.  Shelley's  carriage 
after  repairing  it,  but  being  sensible  that  this  will  be  a 
serious  loss  to  Mr.  Dumbrick  I  have  judged  it  proper  to 
state  the  case  to  you  trusting  you  will  see  the  impropriety 
of  my  insisting  on  payment  from  Mr.  Dumbrick,  he  having 
no  further  interest  in  the  matter  than  a  wish  to  oblige  a 
customer  (as  Mr.  Shelley  was). 

I  therefore  hope  you  will  order  payment  to  be  made  to 
prevent  my  taking  legal  measures  to  force  payment  from 


Appendix  III 

Mr.  Dumbrick  which  I  shall  be  reluctantly  compelled  to, 
in  the  event  of  your  declining  to  settle  my  just  claim.— 
I  remain  with  much  respect,  Sir,  your  most  obt.  Servant, 


Please  address  to  me,  Coachmaker,  Edinburgh. 

J.  B.  SHELLEY,  Esq.,  1813.  To  JOHN  DUMBRECK  . 

Nov.  i.  For  unhanging  the  chariot  body, 
taking  off  the  eight  springs,  tak- 
ing them  asunder,  putting  in  8 
new  main  Plates,  4  new  steel, 
pulling  the  springs  together  again 
and  fixing  them  on  .  .  £580 

,,  i  new  double-screwed  Hasp  for  screw- 
ing the  other  3  Hasps,  13  new 
bolts,  2  new  blocks,  hanging  the 
body,  painting  and  picking  out 
the  8  springs  ....  240 

,,  New  leather  for  the  front,  lined  with 
shalloon  and  screwed  to  the  top 
of  the  dicky  .  .  .  .  080 

,,  Taking  off  the  side  curtains,  making 
them  waterproof,  putting  in  2 
strong  frames  with  glass  doors, 
and  fixing  on  the  curtains  .  .  0160 

,,       Cleaning  the  body  and  carriage,  and 

greasing  the  wheels      .        .        .          030 
2  new  lamps,  and  putting  them  on    .  3     3     o 

A    new   floor-cloth    cover    for    hind 

boot     ......          076 

,,       Wax  candles  for  the  lamps         .        .          050 
Slanee  for  carriage     .         .         .         .  140 

£i3  18    6 
Interest  due  on  this  account  6     i     6 

£20    o    o 

Shelley  in  England 

T".  Charters  to  T.  L.  Peacock 

August  31,  1844. 

SIR,— Being  a  creditor  of  the  late  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley, 
Esq.,  for  Coachmaker's  work  done  for  him  up  to  Novr. 
1815  to  the  amount  of  £532,  us.  6d.  for  which  I  hold  his 
Bill  of  Exchange  drawn  at  Four  years  after  date  with 
Judgment  entered  up  to  secure  payment  and  not  having 
hitherto  received  any  benefit  from  it  in  consequence  of 
the  unfortunate  decease  of  the  said  P.  B.  Shelley,  Esq., 
and  the  non-execution  of  his  will,  I  respectfully  beg  to 
solicit  your  attention  to  my  claim,  and  in  your  capacity 
as  Executor  to  that  Will,  crave  your  kind  endeavours 
to  obtain  for  me  some  arrangement  from  the  family  now 
in  possession  of  the  property  by  which  you  will  be  rendering 
me  a  most  essential  service  and  which  will  at  all  times  be 
gratefully  acknowledged,  and  acknowledged  by,  Sir,  your 
very  obedient  humble  servant, 




18  Stamford  Street, 



(see  page  442) 


dated  22  March,  1814 

Stamp  £1.    KNOW  ALL  MEN  BY  THESE  PRESENTS  that  We  PERCY 

BYSSHE  SHELLEY  of  the  Parish  of  Saint  George 
Hanover  Square  in  the  County  of  Middlesex  Gentleman 
and  JOHN  WESTBROOK  of  the  same  Parish  Gentleman  are 
holden  and  firmly  bound  to  the  most  Reverend  Father  in 
God,  CHARLES  by  Divine  Providence,  Lord  Archbishop  of 
Canterbury,  Primate  of  all  England  and  Metropolitan  in 
the  Sum  of  Two  Hundred  Pounds  of  good  and  lawful 
Money  of  Great  Britain  to  be  paid  to  the  said  most  Reverend 
Father  or  his  certain  Attorney,  Successor,  or  Assigns ; 
To  which  Payment  well  and  truly  to  be  made,  we  bind 
ourselves,  and  each  of  us  by  himself,  for  the  whole,  our 
executors  and  administrators  firmly  by  these  Presents, 
Sealed  with  our  Seals  Dated  the  twenty  second  day  of 
March  in  the  Year  of  our  Lord  One  Thousand  eight  hundred 
and  fourteen. 

The  Condition  of  this  Obligation  is  such,  That  if  here- 
after there  shall  not  appear  any  lawful  Let  or  Impediment 
by  Reason  of  any  Precontract  entered  into  before  the 
twenty  fifth  day  of  March,  which  was  in  the  Year  of  our 
Lord  One  thousand  seven  hundred  and  fifty  four,1  Con- 

1  By  Statute  26  G.  2,  c.  33,  intituled  "  An  Act  for  the  better 
preventing  of  Clandestine  Marriages,"  it  was  enacted  that  all  marri- 
ages solemnized  by  License  after  the  25th  Mar.  1754,  where  either 
of  the  parties  should  be  under  21,  which  should  be  had  without  the 
consent  of  the  parent  of  such  parties  under  age  first  obtained, 
should  be  null  and  void. 


Shelley  in   England 

sanguinity,  affinity  or  any  other  cause  whatsoever ;  but 
that  the  above  bounden  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  and  Harriet 
Shelley  Minor  heretofore  Westbrook  having  been  already 
married  may  lawfully  solemnise  Marriage  together  and  in 
the  same  afterwards  lawfully  remain  and  continue  for 
Man  and  Wife,  according  to  the  Laws  in  that  behalf  pro- 
vided :  And  moreover,  if  there  be  not  at  this  present 
time  any  Action  Suit,  Plaint,  Quarrel  or  Demand  moved 
or  depending  before  any  Judge  Ecclesiastical  or  Temporal 
for  or  concerning  any  such  lawful  Impediment  between 
the  said  Parties  Nor  that  either  of  them  be  of  any  other 
Place  or  of  better  Estate  or  Degree  than  to  the  judge  at 
granting  of  this  Licence  is  suggested  and  by  him  Sworn 
to  by  and  with  the  consent  of  the  above  bounden  John 
Westbrook  the  natural  and  lawful  Father  of  the  said  Minor. 
And  if  the  same  Marriage  shall  be  openly  solemnised 
in  the  Church  or  Chapel  in  the  Licence  specified,  between 
the  hours  appointed  in  the  Constitutions  ecclesiastically 
confirmed  and  according  to  the  Form  of  the  Book  of 
Common  Prayer  now  by  law  established  ;  and  lastly,  if 
the  said  parties  do  save  harmless  and  indemnify  the  above 
mentioned  Most  Reverend  Father  in  God,  his  Vicar  Gen- 
eral, and  his  Surrogates  and  all  other  his  Officers  whatso- 
ever, by  reason  of  the  Premises ;  then  this  Obligation 
to  be  void  or  else  to  remain  in  full  Force  and  Virtue. 

Signed  sealed  and  de- 
livered (having  been 
first  duly  stamped)  in 
the  presence  of 

C.  H.  SIMS. 





(see  page  443) 

Since  the  greater  part  of  this  book  was  printed  my  atten- 
tion has  been  drawn  to  a  letter  written  by  William  Godwin 
to  John  Taylor  of  Gildengate,  Norwich,  under  the  date 
of  November  8,  1814,  in  regard  to  Shelley's  elopement 
with  his  daughter  Mary  in  the  preceding  summer.  Jane 
Clairmont,  afterwards  known  as  Claire,  accompanied  the 
fugitives.  It  is  curious  to  note  that  Godwin  mentions  that 
Shelley  and  his  companions  stayed  three  weeks  in  Switzer- 
land, whereas  it  is  generally  understood  that  they  remained 
only  forty-eight  hours  at  the  chateau  near  Lucerne  on  the 
borders  of  the  Lake  of  the  Four  Cantons.  The  owner  of 
the  letter,  Miss  Westcott,  has  very  kindly  permitted  me 
to  print  the  following  extract : — 

"  When  I  last  wrote  to  you,  I  understood  that  these 
unhappy  girls,  with  their  pretended  protector,  had  fixed 
their  abode  in  Switzerland,  with  fifty  pounds  in  their 
pockets.  How  great  was  our  surprise  then  on  the  i6th 
of  September  to  receive  a  letter  informing  us  that  they 
were  already  in  Margaret  Street,  Cavendish  Square, 
London !  They  had  taken,  it  seems,  an  old,  ruinous  chateau 
in  Switzerland  ;  but  finding  that  the  climate  was  cold,  and 
the  situation  not  solitary,  but  surrounded  with  inquisitive 
neighbours,  at  the  end  of  three  weeks,  they  turned  round, 
and  travelled  with  the  utmost  expedition  for  England. 

641  2  S 

Shelley  in  England 

This  has  been  a  cruel  aggravation  of  our  distress.  Distance, 
like  time,  tends  to  mitigate  the  anguish  of  human  feelings  ; 
but  with  them  thus  as  it  were  at  our  doors,  and  the  chance 
of  hearing  of  them  every  hour,  we  cannot  for  a  moment 
lose  sight  of  the  fatal  event." 

Godwin  then  goes  on  to  state  that  his  wife  was  very 
anxious  to  recover  her  daughter  Jane  [Claire]  who  was 
acting  from  "  a  childish  love  of  new  things."  She  had 
been  spoken  to  by  Godwin  and  by  some  sage  friend  and 
had  seen  Fanny  to  no  purpose.  The  Godwins  thought 
of  taking  the  girl  by  force,  but  refrained  from  such  a  course. 
All  they  seem  to  have  done  was  to  propose  that  Jane  should 
become  a  governess,  but  not  liking  that  they  proposed 
that  they  would  find  a  family  where  she  should  be  received 
on  the  footing  of  a  visitor  merely.  Jane  replied  that 
no  consideration  should  part  her  from  "  her  present  friends," 
but  she  offered  to  comply  on  two  conditions,  viz.,  "  that 
she  should  in  all  situations  openly  proclaim  and  earnestly 
support,  a  total  contempt  for  the  laws  and  institutions 
of  society,  and  that  no  restraint  should  be  imposed  upon 
her  correspondence  and  intercourse  with  those  from  whom 
she  was  separated."  The  Godwins  declined  to  comply  with 
these  conditions. 




March  1815.  By  a  DEED  POLL  of  this  date  under  the  hand  and 
seal  of  the  said  PERCY  BYSSHE  SHELLEY  AFTER 
RECITING  (among  other  things)  the  Will  of  his  grandfather 
Sir  Bysshe  Shelley  (dated  1805)  and  a  Codicil  thereto 
dated  the  2Qth  October  1811  AND  AFTER  RECITING  that 
the  said  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  not  considering  the  benefits 
conditionally  conferred  on  him  by  the  said  Will  as  a 
sufficient  inducement  for  him  to  relinquish  his  Estate 
tail  expectant  on  the  death  of  the  survivor  of  Sir  Bysshe 
Shelley  and  his  father  Timothy  Shelley  of  and  in  the 
Manors  and  other  hereditaments  comprised  in  the  Inden- 
tures of  Settlement  dated  20  August  1791  and  30  September 
1782  had  determined  not  to  comply  with  the  conditions 
contained  in  the  said  Codicil  but  to  renounce  and  disclaim  all 
right  under  the  said  Will  IT  WAS  WITNESSED  that  the  said 
PERCY  BYSSHE  SHELLEY  did  thereby  for  himself  and  his  heirs 
irrevocably  renounce  and  disclaim  unto  all  persons  what- 
soever interested  in  the  premises  all  such  estate  benefit 
and  advantage  whatsoever  into  from  or  out  of  the  heredits 
and  premises  devised  and  bequeathed  by  the  said  Will 
of  the  sd.  Sir  Bysshe  Shelley  or  any  Codicil  thereto  and 
from  or  out  of  the  moiety  of  the  residuary  personal  Estate 
of  the  said  Sir  Bysshe.1 

1  By  the  execution  of  this  deed  Percy  Bysshe  deprived  his  issue 
male  of  the  very  considerable  benefits  which  they  otherwise  would 
have  taken  under  Sir  Bysshe's  will  and  which  benefits  in  consequence 
passed  to  his  brother  John  and  his  issue  male.  Sir  Bysshe's  residuary 
personal  estate  alone  amounted  to  ^143,675,  123.  5d.,  as  appears 
from  the  Chancery  proceedings. 




13  May  1815.  By  INDENTURE  of  this  date  made  between  PERCY 
BYSSHE  SHELLEY  of  Marchmont  Street  Brunswick 
Square  of  the  first  part  SIR  TIMOTHY  SHELLEY  of  the  second 
part  and  ROBERT  PARKER  (the  brother-in-law  of  Timothy)  of 
the  third  part  AFTER  RECITING  the  Will  of  the  said  John 
Shelley  and  a  Fine  levied  by  Percy  Bysshe  with  the  concur- 
rence of  Timothy  AND  AFTER  RECITING  that  Percy  Bysshe 
lately  proposed  to  Timothy  that  if  Timothy  would  give  him 
an  adequate  consideration  for  his  concurrence  in  exercising 
a  certain  joint  power  of  appointment  in  such  manner  as 
would  vest  in  Timothy  the  fee  in  the  Estates  devised 
by  the  Will  of  John  Shelley  he  the  said  Percy  Bysshe 
would  concur  in  all  acts  necessary  for  that  purpose  AND 
AFTER  RECITING  that  on  a  discussion  of  the  said  proposals 
of  the  said  Percy  Bysshe  it  was  agreed  between  him  and 
his  father  that  the  consideration  should  consist  partly 
of  the  payment  of  a  sum  of  money  and  partly  of  an  Annuity 
to  be  paid  by  the  said  Timothy  AND  AFTER  RECITING  that 
Timothy  and  Percy  Bysshe  afterwards  fixed  the  said 
Annuity  at  £1000  AND  AFTER  RECITING  that  both  the 
said  Timothy  and  Percy  Bysshe  had  consulted  with  their 
friends  and  professional  advisers  on  various  statements 
made  between  them  as  to  the  value  of  the  said  Estate 
devised  by  the  said  Will  and  of  their  interest  therein  and 


Appendix  VII 

that  they  the  said  Timothy  and  Percy  Bysshe  having 
taken  the  same  into  their  consideration  they  had  agreed 
with  each  other  that  the  sum  of  £7400  should  be  paid 
IT  WAS  WITNESSED  that  in  consideration  of  £7400  paid 
by  Timothy  to  Percy  Bysshe  and  of  the  payment  of  an 
annuity  of  £1000  to  be  paid  by  Timothy  to  Percy  Bysshe 
during  the  joint  lives  of  Timothy  and  Percy  Bysshe  THEY 
Timothy  and  Percy  Bysshe  (in  exercise  of  the  joint  power 
of  appointment  reserved  to  them)  did  appoint  the  Estates 
devised  by  the  said  Will  of  John  Shelley  TO  SUCH  USES  as 
Timothy  should  by  any  deed  or  by  his  Will  appoint. 




13  May  1815.  BY  INDENTURE  of  this  date  made  between  SIR 
TIMOTHY  SHELLEY  of  the  first  part  PERCY  BYSSHE 
SHELLEY  of  the  second  part  and  the  said  ROBERT  PARKER 
of  the  third  part  AFTER  RECITING  (among  other  things) 
that  the  said  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  having  a  wife  and  two 
children  unprovided  for  and  having  contracted  debts  to 
a  considerable  amount  had  made  a  certain  proposal  to  the 
said  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  and  that  the  said  Sir  Timothy 
Shelley  had  taken  such  proposal  into  consideration  and  as 
well  for  the  purpose  of  enabling  the  said  Percy  Bysshe 
Shelley  to  make  a  suitable  provision  for  his  said  wife  and 
children  as  for  delivering  him  from  his  embarrassments 
the  said  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  had  agreed  to  comply  with 
such  proposal  and  to  advance  the  said  Percy  Bysshe 
Shelley  a  certain  sum  of  money  for  payment  of  his  debts 
and  to  secure  to  the  said  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  payment 
of  an  annual  sum  of  one  thousand  pounds  during  the  joint 
lives  of  the  said  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  and  Percy  Bysshe 
Shelley  IT  WAS  WITNESSED  that  the  said  SIR  TIMOTHY 
COVENANTED  to  pay  to  the  said  PERCY  BYSSHE  SHELLEY 
during  their  joint  lives  THE  ANNUAL  SUM  OF  ONE  THOUSAND 
POUNDS  payable  in  quarterly  instalments  on  the  25th 
day  of  March  the  24th  day  of  June  the  2gth  day  of  Sep- 
tember and  the  25th  day  of  December  in  every  year  and 
charged  certain  lands  of  Sir  Timothy  Shelley  with  the 
payment  of  the  said  Annuity.1 

1  There  is  no  copy  of  this  deed  among  the  Shelley- Whitton  papers. 
The  above  abstract  has  been  made  from  Longdill's  affidavit  in  the 
Shelley  v.  Westbrook  litigation. 



(see  page  476) 



December  u,  1816 

St.  Margaret 

List  of  the  Jury :  John  Smith,  Daniel  Lounds,  Richard 
Jones,  Henry  Taylor,  Wm.  Rumbell,  Thomas  Bailey, 
Abm.  Sarvis,  George  Cope,  Saml.  House,  Richd. 
Tirds,  Robt.  Smith,  Thomas  Holland.] 

Cityand      x  To  the  CONSTABLES  OF  THE  PARISH  OF  SAINT 

Liberty  of       I  MARGARET      WESTMINSTER      within      the      Said 

Westminster  >  to  wit. 

in  the  County  (  Liberty  of  Westminster. 

of  Middlesex; 

The  Execution  By  virtue  of  my  Office  these  are  in  his  Majesty's 
of  this  Warrant  Name  to  charge  and  command  you  that  on  Sight 
Schedule  here^  hereof  you  summon  &  warn  Twenty-four  able  and 
to  annexed  sufficient  Men  of  the  said  Liberty,  personally  to  be 
and  appear  before  me  on  Wednesday  the  Eleventh 
DaY  of  December  by  Twelve  of  the  Clock  at  noon 
of  the  same  Day  at  the  house  of  Thomas  Phillips 
known  by  the  sign  of  the  Fox  Knightsbridge  then  and  there 
to  do  and  execute  all  such  Things  as  shall  be  given  them  in 
Charge,  on  the  Behalf  of  our  Sovereign  Lord  the  King's 
Majesty  touching  the  death  of  Harriet  Smith  and  for 
your  so  doing  this  is  your  Warrant.  And  that  you  also 
attend  at  the  Time  and  Place  above-mentioned,  to  make 
a  Return  of  the  names  of  those  you  shall  so  summon  And 


Shelley  in  England 

further  to  do  and  execute  such  other  Matters  as  shall  be 
then  &  there  enjoined  you,  and  have  you  then  and  there 
this  Warrant  Given  under  my  Hand  and  Seal  this  Tenth 
Day  of  December  in  the  year  of  our  Lord  1816. 

(Signed)    JNO.  HY.  GELL 




December  n,  1816 

St.  Margt.  Westr. 

Verdict :  Found  dead  in  the  Serpentine  River.] 

City  and  INFORMATION  OF  WITNESSES  taken  this  eleventh  day 
Westminster  of  December  One  thousand  eight  hundred  and  six- 
in  the  County  teen  at  the  House  of  Thomas  Phillips  known  by  the 
siSn  of  the  Fox  situate  in  Knightsbridge  in  the 
Parish  of  Saint  Margaret  Westminster,  on  view  of 
the  Body  of  Hariet  [sic]  Smith  then  and  there  lying  dead 
as  follows  to  wit — 

JOHN  LEVESLEY  of  No.  38  Dennings  Alley  Bishopsgate 
Street  Without  an  Out  Pensr.  belonging  to  Chelsea 
Hospital  being  sworn  saith  as  follows  : 

About  10  o'clock  yesterday  Morning  the  loth  day  of 
December  instant  I  was  walking  by  the  side  of  the  Ser- 
pentine on  my  way  to  Kensington  and  observed  something 
floating  on  the  River  which  conceiving  to  be  a  human 
Body  I  called  to  a  boy  on  the  opposite  side  to  bring  his 
Boat  which  after  some  time  he  did  to  the  side  of  the  bank 
of  the  River  on  which  I  stood.  I  got  into  the  boat  &  found 
that  it  was  the  Body  of  the  deceased  quite  dead,  there 
appeared  no  sign  of  life  and  I  have  no  doubt  that  the 
Body  must  have  lain  in  the  Water  some  days. 

(Signed)  JOHN  LEAVSLEY  [sic] 


Appendix  IX 

WILLIAM  ALDER  a  Lodger  at  the  Fox  Public  House 
aforesaid,  Plumber,  being  sworn  saith  as  follows  : 

I  knew  the  deceased  she  resided  at  No.  7  Elizabeth 
Street  Hans  Place  she  was  a  married  Woman  but  did  not 
live  with  her  husband — she  had  been  missing  as  I  was 
informed  from  her  House  upwards  of  a  Month,  and  at  the 
request  of  her  Parents  when  she  had  been  absent  about 
a  week  I  dragged  the  Serpentine  River  and  all  the  ponds 
near  thereto  without  effect  the  deceased  having  for  some- 
time labored  under  lowness  of  Spirits  which  I  had  observed 
for  several  months  before  and  I  conceived  that  something 
lay  heavy  on  her  Mind.  On  hearing  yesterday  that  a 
Body  was  found  I  went  and  recognized  it  to  be  the  de- 
ceased— she  was  about  21  years  of  age  and  was  married 
about  5  years. 

(Signed)  WM.  ALDER. 

UANE  THOMAS  of  7  Elizabeth  Street  Hans  Place,  Widow, 
being  sworn  saith  as  follows  : 

The  deceased  occupied  the  second  floor  in  my  House 
she  took  them  accompanied  by  a  Mr.  Alder,  she  stated 
that  she  was  a  married  lady  &  that  her  Husband  was 
abroad  she  took  them  from  month  to  month — she  had 
been  with  me  about  9  weeks  on  the  gth  of  November  last, 
she  paid  her  month's  Rent  on  the  Thursday  preceding — 
she  appeared  in  the  family  way  and  was  during  the  time 
she  lived  in  my  House  in  a  very  desponding  and  gloomy 
way — on  the  gth  of  November  last  she  left  my  House  as 
I  was  informed  by  my  servant  Mary  Jones  I  did  not  see 
the  deceased  that  day. 

(Signed)  JANE  THOMAS. 

MARY  JONES,  Servant  to  the  last  Witness,  being  sworn 
saith  as  follows : 

On  Saturday  the  ninth  of  November  last  the  deceased 
breakfasted  and  dined  in  her  Apartments,  she  told  me 


Shelley  in   England 

previously  that  she  wished  to  dine  early  &  she  dined 
about  4  o'clock  —  she  said  very  little,  she  chiefly  spent  her 
time  in  Bed.  I  saw  nothing  but  what  was  proper  in  her 
Conduct  with  the  exception  of  a  continual  lowness  of  Spirits 
—  she  left  her  Apartment  after  Dinner  which  did  not 
occupy  her  more  than  10  minutes  —  I  observed  she  was 
gone  out  on  my  going  into  her  room  about  5  o'clock  that 
day.  I  never  saw  or  heard  from  her  afterwards. 

The  x  mark  of 



December  n,  1816 

St.  Margt.<  Westr. 

Verdict  :  Found  dead  in  the  Serpentine  River.] 

city  and       \  AN  Inquisition  Indented  taken  for  our  Sovereign 

Liberty  of     I  Lord  the  King  at  the  House  of  Thomas  Phillips 

l<     '* 

known  by  the  Sign  of  the  Fox  in  Knightsbridge 
of  Middlesex;  |n  foe  parish  of  Saint  Margaret  Westminster 

within  the  Liberty  of  the  Dean  and  Chapter  of  the  Col- 
legiate Church  of  St.  Peter,  Westminster,  in  the  County 
of  Middlesex,  the  Eleventh  day  of  December  in  the  Fifty- 
seventh  Year  of  the  Reign  of  our  Sovereign  Lord  George 
the  Third  by  the  Grace  of  God,  of  the  United  Kingdom 
of  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  King,  Defender  of  the  Faith, 
before  John  Henry  Gell  Esq.  Coroner  of  our  said  Lord  the 
King  for  the  said  City  and  Liberty,  on  view  of  the  body 
of  Hariet  [sic]  then  and  there  lying  dead, 

upon  the  oath  of  the  several  Jurors  whose  names  are 
hereunder  written,  and  Seals  affixed,  good  and  lawful 
Men  of  the  said  Liberty,  duly  chosen,  who  being  then 
and  there  duly  sworn  and  charged  to  enquire  for  our  said 
Lord  the  King,  when,  how,  and  by  what  Means  the  said 
Harriet  [sic]  Smith  came  to  her  Death,  do  upon  their 
Oath  say,  that  the  said  Harriet  Smith  on  the  tenth  day  of 
December  in  the  year  aforesaid  at  the  Parish  aforesaid 


Appendix    IX 

in  the  City  Liberty  and  County  aforesaid  was  found  dead 
in  the  Serpentine  River,  to  wit  near  Kensington  in  the 
Parish  City  Liberty  and  County  aforesaid,  that  the  said 
Harriet  Smith  had  no  marks  of  violence  appearing  on  her 
body,  but  how  or  by  what  means  she  became  dead,  no 
evidence  thereof  does  appear  to  the  Jurors. 

In  witness  whereof,  as  well  the  said  Coroner  as  the 
Jurors  have  to  this  Inquisition  set  their  Hands  and  Seals 
the  Day,  Year  and  Place  first  above  written. 


The  X  mark  of 



The  X  mark  of 







RICHARD  JONES      j     G.R.     ) 




GODWIN  IN  1816  (see  page  488) 


Dated  28  Deer.  1816 
Vicar  General's  Office  28  December  1816 

Which  day  appeared  personally  PERCY  BYSSHE  SHELLEY 
and  made  Oath,  that  he  is  of  the  Parish  of  Saint  Mildred 
Bread  Street  London  a  Widower  and  intendeth  to  inter- 
marry with  MARY  WALLSTONECRAFT  [sic]  GODWIN  of  the 
City  of  Bath  Spinster  a  minor  of  the  age  of  nineteen  years  & 
upwards  but  under  the  age  of  twenty  one  years  by  &  with 
the  consent  of  William  Godwin  the  natural  &  lawful  Father 
of  the  said  minor  and  that  he  knoweth  of  no  lawful  impedi- 
ment, by  reason  of  any  Precontract,  Consanguinity,  Affinity 
or  other  lawful  cause  whatsoever,  to  hinder  the  said  in- 
tended Marriage,  and  prayed  a  Licence  to  solemnize  the 
same  in  the  Parish  Church  of  Saint  Mildred  Bread  Street 
aforesaid  and  further  made  Oath,  that  the  usual  place  of 
abode  of  the  appearer  hath  been  in  the  said  Parish  of  Saint 
Mildred  Bread  Street  for  the  space  of  four  weeks  last  past. 


Then  appeared  personally  the  said  WILLIAM  GODWIN 
and  made  Oath  that  he  is  the  natural  &  lawful  Father  of 
the  said  minor  &  freely  consents  to  the  above  intended 


Sworn  before  me,  S.  PARSON.  Sur — 


Appendix   X 

Dated  28  Deer.  1816 

Stamp  £1.  KNOW  ALL  MEN  BY  THESE  PRESENTS  that  We  PERCY 

BYSSHE  SHELLEY  of  the  Parish  of  Saint  Mildred  Bread 
Street  London  Gentleman  &  WILLIAM  GODWIN  of  the  City 
of  Bath  Gentleman  are  holden  and  firmly  bound  to  the 
most  Reverend  Father  in  God,  CHARLES,  by  Divine  Provi- 
dence, Lord  Archbishop  of  Canterbury,  Primate  of  all 
England,  and.  Metropolitan,  in  the  sum  of  Two  Hundred 
Pounds  of  good  and  lawful  Money  of  Great  Britain  to  be 
paid  to  the  said  most  Reverend  Father,  or  his  certain 
Attorney,  Successor,  or  Assigns :  To  which  Payment  well 
and  truly  to  be  made,  we  bind  ourselves,  and  each  of  us 
by  himself,  for  the  whole,  our  executors  and  adminis- 
trators firmly  by  these  Presents  Sealed  with  our  Seals 
Dated  the  twenty  eighth  day  of  December  in  the  Year  of 
our  Lord  One  Thousand  Eight  hundred  and  sixteen. 

The  condition  of  this  Obligation  is  such,  That  if  here- 
after there  shall  not  appear  any  lawful  Let  or  Impediment 
by  Reason  of  any  Precontract  entered  into  before  the 
twenty  fifth  day  of  March,  which  was  in  the  Year  of  our 
Lord  One  thousand  seven  hundred  and  fifty  four,  Con- 
sanguinity, Affinity  or  any  other  Cause  whatsoever ;  but 
that  the  above  bounden  Percy  Bysshe  Shelley  a  Widower 
&  Mary  Wallstonecraft  [sic]  Godwin  Spinster  a  Minor  may 
lawfully  solemnize  Marriage  together  and  in  the  same  after- 
wards lawfully  remain  and  continue  for  Man  and  Wife, 
according  to  the  Laws  in  that  behalf  provided ;  And 
moreover,  if  there  be  not  at  this  present  Time  any  Action, 
Suit,  Plaint,  Quarrel,  or  Demand,  moved  or  depending 
before  any  Judge,  Ecclesiastical  or  Temporal  for  or  con- 
cerning any  such  lawful  Impediment  between  the  said 
Parties  Nor  that  either  of  them  be  of  any  other  Place,  or 
of  better  Estate  or  Degree  than  to  the  Judge  at  granting 


Shelley  in  England 

of  this  Licence  is  suggested  and  by  him  sworn  by  &  with 
the  consent  of  the  said  William  Godwin  the  natural  & 
lawful  Father  of  the  said  Minor. 

And  if  the  same  Marriage  shall  be  openly  solemnized  in 
the  Church  or  Chapel  in  the  License  specified,  between  the 
Hours  appointed  in  the  Constitutions  ecclesiastically  con- 
firmed, and  according  to  the  Form  of  the  Book  of  Common 
Prayer,  now  by  Law  established  ;  and,  lastly,  if  the  said 
parties  do  save  harmless  and  indemnify  the  above  men- 
tioned Most  Reverend  Father  in  God,  his  Vicar  General, 
and  his  Surrogates,  and  all  other  his  Officers  whatsoever, 
by  Reason  of  the  Premises ;  then  this  Obligation  to  be 
void  or  else  to  remain  in  full  Force  and  Virtue. 

Signed  sealed  and  de-      PERCY  B YSSHE  SHELLEY 
livered  (having  been 
first  duly  stamped)  in 
the  presence  of 




JEFFRIES  ESDAILE  (see  page  515) 

/.  Gregson  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

July  29,  1837. 

DEAR  SIR  TIMOTHY,— Mr.  Esdaile  is  the  eldest  son  of  the 
eldest  son  of  old  Mr.  Esdaile  of  the  late  firm  of  Esdaile  & 
Co.  the  bankers  of  Lombard  St.  Mr.  Esdaile,  the  father 
of  the  intended,  had  a  considerable  property  on  his  mother's 
side.  His  father  the  banker  also,  I  believe,  settled  a  large 
sum  upon  him.  He  was  never  in  business  and  consequently 
escaped  the  recent  misfortune.  He  has  lived  as  a  country 
gentleman  in  Somersetshire,  and  is,  I  believe,  a  very 
estimable  person,  and  his  son  will  make  a  very  respectable 
match  for  the  young  lady  upon  whom  report  says  that 
Mr.  Beauchamp  intends  to  bestow  a  fortune.  I  have  it 
stated  that  Mr.  Edward  Esdaile  has  £4000  per  annum,  but 
my  own  impression  is  that  this  is  an  exaggeration. — We 
were  certainly  beaten  by  bribery  at  Leominster.  I  did  not 
know  that  Mr.  Greenaway  was  a  connection  of  Mr.  Hurst. 
He  cannot  retain  his  seat  if  the  affair  be  followed  up.— 
Yrs.,  etc., 


SIR  T.  SHELLEY,  Bart. 


Shelley  in  England 

Mrs.  Parker  to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley 

December  13,  1837. 

MY  DEAR  BROTHER,— lanthe1  and  Mr.  Esdaile  lunched 
with  me.  She  seemed  very  well  and  very  happy— he 
behaved  perfectly  like  a  gentleman  and  very  attentive 
to  his  wife.  They  were  going  to  Bristol  that  evening  to 
visit  her  Aunt  before  she  returned  to  her  own  home.  She 
promised  to  write  to  me,  but  I  have  never  heard  a  word 
of  or  from  her  since,  and  Mr.  Esdaile  said  he  would  remind 
her  to  write  as  soon  as  she  got  home.  Spoke  much  of  the 
pleasure  they  had  in  their  visit  at  Field  Place,  but  Mr. 
Beauchamp  was  going  to  London  upon  business  and  wished 
to  see  them  before  he  went  and  she  said  we  must  not  dis- 
appoint him.  .  .  .—Your  affectionate  sister, 


1  In  September  1837  Eliza  lanthe  Shelley  (Shelley's  eldest  child 
by  his  first  wife  Harriet),  then  of  Watford  House,  Somerset,  was 
married  to  Edward  Jeffries  Esdaile,  the  younger  son  of  E.  J.  Esdaile 
the  elder,  of  Cothelbestone  House,  Somerset. 

On  her  marriage  she  settled  the  legacy  of  ^6000  bequeathed  to 
her  by  the  will  of  her  father. 



2  T 


TRELAWNY  states  that  when  he  left  Leghorn  on  August  13,  1822, 
and  went  on  board  Byron's  boat  the  Bolivar  to  superintend 
the  burning  of  the  bodies  of  Shelley  and  Williams,  he  "had 
previously  engaged  two  large  feluccas,  with  drags  and  tackling, 
to  go  before,  and  endeavour  to  find  the  place  where  Shelley's 
boat  had  foundered."  Having  ascertained  the  spot  where  the 
Ariel  had  last  been  seen  afloat,  they  succeeded  in  finding 
her,  but  failed  to  get  her  up.  Trelawny  wrote  to  Captain 
Roberts,  who  was  at  Genoa,  and  asked  him  to  "  complete  the 
business."  Roberts  was  successful  in  bringing  the  boat  to 
the  surface,  and  he  anchored  her  off  Via  Reggio.  On  Sep- 
tember 1 8,  he  wrote  to  Trelawny  to  say  that  by  Byron's 
advice  he  had  sold  the  Ariel  by  auction,  and  she  realised  a 
trifle  more  than  two  hundred  dollars,  and  he  had  divided  the 
proceeds  with  the  crew  of  the  felucca  who  had  been  employed 
in  getting  her  up.  Out  of  the  hull,  he  said,  "  we  fished  clothes, 
books,  spyglass,  and  other  articles.  We  found  in  the  boat  two 
memorandum-books  of  Shelley's  quite  perfect,  and  another 
damaged,  a  journal  of  Williams'  quite  perfect,  written  up  to  the 
4th  July.  I  washed  the  printed  books  ;  some  of  them  were  so 
glued  together  by  the  slimy  mud  that  the  leaves  could  not  be 
separated;  most  of  these  are  now  in  Ld.  B.'s  custody.  The 
letters,  private  papers,  and  Williams'  journal,  I  left  in  charge  of 
Hunt,  as  I  saw  there  were  many  severe  remarks  on  Ld.  B."  2 

The  note-book,  now  under  examination,  may  be  the  one 
referred  to  by  Captain  Roberts  as  damaged.  It  has  passed 
successively  through  the  hands  of  Mary  Shelley,  Sir  Percy  Shelley, 
and  Jane,  Lady  Shelley,  to  its  present  owner,  Sir  John  C.  E. 
Shelley.  Photographs  have  been  made  of  every  page  of  the 
book,  and  from  these  pages  I  have  endeavoured  to  give  a  faithful 
transcription.  The  difficulties  of  this  task  will  be  realised  by 
an  examination  of  the  facsimiles.  It  is  obviously  a  note-book 

1  The  copyright  of  the  contents  of  this  book  is  reserved  by  Sir  John 
C.  E.  Shelley. 
*  Trelawny's  Recollections. 


Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

in  which  Shelley  used  to  jot  down  the  rough  ideas  of  his 
poems.  I  have  attempted  to  arrange  the  pages  in  something 
approaching  order.  From  the  contents  it  would  seem  to  have 
been  used  by  Shelley  during  the  year  1821. 

The  passages  and  words  within  square  brackets  in  the  tran- 
scripts, show  Shelley's  cancellations. 


[This  essay  was  to  have  consisted  of  three  parts,  the  first 
of  which  only  was  written  by  Shelley  early  in  the  year  1821. 
It  was  designed  as  a  reply  to  an  article  entitled  "  The  Four 
Ages  of  Poetry,"  contributed  by  Thomas  Love  Peacock  to 
the  first  number  of  Oilier 's  Literary  Miscellany.  This  periodical, 
for  which  A  Defence  of  Poetry  was  intended  as  a  contribution, 
was  discontinued,  and  a  manuscript  of  Shelley's  article  came 
into  the  hands  of  John  Hunt,  with  a  view  to  its  insertion  in 
The  Liberal.  Hunt  went  over  the  manuscript  and  deleted 
any  references  to  Peacock's  article,  but  before  it  could  be 
printed  The  Liberal  ceased  publication  at  the  fourth  number. 
It  was  not  until  1841  that  Mrs.  Shelley,  having  regained 
possession  of  the  MS.,  printed  the  Defence,  for  the  first  time, 
in  Shelley's  Essays  and  Letters  from  Abroad.  The  passages 
deleted  by  Hunt  were  not  restored  by  Mrs.  Shelley,  and  they 
remained  unprinted  until  M.  A.  H.  Koszul  re-edited  the  essay 
from  two  of  Shelley's  MSS.  now  in  the  Bodleian,  for  his  little 
volume  of  Shelley's  Prose  in  the  Bodleian  Library.  One  is 
a  draft  which  shows,  like  the  following  pages  of  Adonais, 
the  author's  careful  method  of  composition.  The  other  is 
apparently  the  fair  copy  that  was  sent  to  Oilier  on  March  21, 
1821.  The  copy  of  the  portion  of  the  essay  in  Shelley's  note- 
book occupies  twenty-five  pages,  each  page  being  distinguished 
in  the  present  transcript  by  roman  figures,  I  to  XXIV,  and  a 
rider  numbered  XlA.  The  manuscript  is  beautifully  and  clearly 
written,  and  the  pages  which  it  occupies  are  fortunately 
among  those  that  have  escaped  damage.  One  leaf,  between 
pages  XII  and  XIII,  is  missing,  but  the  text,  to  preserve  con- 
tinuity, has  been  supplied  in  italics.  One  of  the  notes  deleted 
by  Hunt  occurs  in  the  manuscript  on  pages  XIX  and  XX, 
and  many  variations  are  noted  in  the  footnotes.] 

Hence  the  fame  of  sculptors,  painters,  and  musicians, 
although  the  intrinsic  powers  of  the  great  masters  of  these 
arts  may  yield  in  no  degree  to  that  of  those  who  have  em- 


A  Defence  of  Poetry 

ployed  language  as  the  hieroglyphic  of  their  thoughts,  has 
never  equalled  that  of  poets  in  the  restricted  sense  of  the 
term ;  as  two  [I  x]  performers  of  equal  skill,  will  produce 
unequal  effects  from  a  guitar  and  a  harp.  The  fame  of  legis- 
lators and  founders  of  religions,  so  long  as  their  institutions 
last,2  alone  seems  to  exceed  that  of  poets  3  in  the  restricted 
sense  ;  but  it  can  scarcely  be  a  question,4  whether,  if  we  deduct 
the  celebrity  which  their  flattery  of  the  gross  opinions  of  the 
vulgar  usually  conciliates,  together  with  that  which  belonged 
to  them  in  their  higher  character  of  poets,  any  excess  5  will 

We  have  thus  circumscribed  the  meaning  of  the  6  word 
Poetry  within  the  limits  of  that  art  which  is  the  most  familiar 
and  the  most  perfect  expression  of  the  faculty  itself.  It  is 
necessary,  however,  to  make  the  circle  still  narrower,  and  to 
determine  the  distinction  between  measured  and  unmeasured 
language ;  for  the  popular  division  into  prose  and  verse  is 
inadmissible  [II]  in  accurate  philosophy.  Sounds  as  well 
as  thoughts  have  relation  both  7  between  each  other  and 
towards  that  which  they  represent,  and  a  perception  of  the 
order  of  those  relations  has  always  been  found  connected  with 
a  perception  of  the  order  of  the  relations  of  8  thoughts.  Hence 
the  language  of  poets  has  ever  affected  a  certain  uniform  and 
harmonious  recurrence  of  sound,  without  which  it  were  not 
poetry,  and  which  is  scarcely  less  indispensable  to  the  com- 
munication of  its  actions,9  than  the  words  themselves,  without 
reference  to  that  peculiar  order.  Hence  the  vanity  of  trans- 
lation ;  10  it  were  as  wise  to  cast  a  violet  into  a  crucible  that 
you  might  discover  the  formal  principle  of  its  colour  and 
odour,  as  seek  to  transfuse  from  one  language  into  another 
the  creations  of  a  poet.  The  plant  must  spring  again  from 
[III]  its  seed,  or  it  will  bear  no  flower — and  this  is  the  burthen 
of  the  curse  of  Babel. 

An  observation  of  the  regular  mode  of  the  recurrence  of  this  ll 
harmony  in  the  language  of  poetical  minds,  together  with 
its  relation  to  music,  produced  metre,  or  a  certain  system  of 
traditional  forms  of  harmony  and  language.  Yet  it  is  by 

1  The  first  page  of  the  MS.  begins  here. 

2  remain  has  been  deleted.  3  who  inserted  and  deleted. 
4  that  inserted  and  deleted.  5  would  deleted. 

6  the  meaning  of  the  inserted.  7  among  inserted  and  deleted. 

8  that  deleted.  9  effects  cancelled  and  actions  inserted. 

10  Shelley  wrote  here  and  cancelled  for  it  is  not  translation  to  create  anew. 

11  this  inserted. 


Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

no  means  essential  that  a  poet  should  accommodate  his  language 
to  this  traditional  form,  so  that  the  harmony,  which  is  its 
spirit,  be  observed.  The  practice  is  indeed  convenient  and 
popular,  and  to  be  preferred,  especially  in  such  composition 
as  includes  much  form  and  l  action  :  but  every  great  poet 
must  inevitably  innovate  upon  the  example  of  his  predecessors 
in  the  exact  structure  of  his  peculiar  versification.  The  dis- 
tinction between  poets  and  prose  writers  is  a  vulgar  error. 
The  distinction  between  [IV]  philosophers  and  poets  has  been 
anticipated.  Plato  was  essentially  a  poet — the  truth  and 
splendour  of  his  imagery,  and  the  melody  of  his  language,2  is 
the  most  intense  that  it  is  possible  to  conceive3 :  he  rejected 
the  measure  of  the  epic,  dramatic,  and  lyrical  forms,  because 
he  sought  to  kindle  a  harmony  in  thoughts  divested  of  shape 
and  action,  and  he  forebore  to  invent  any  regular  plan  of 
rhythm  which  should  4  include,  under  determinate  forms,  the 
varied  pauses  of  his  style.  Cicero  sought  to  imitate  the  cadence 
of  his  periods,  but  with  little  success.  Lord  Bacon  was  5  a 
poet.*  His  language  has  a  sweet  and  majestic  rhythm, 
which  satisfies  the  sense,6  no  less  than  the  almost  superhuman 
wisdom  of  his  philosophy  satisfies  the  intellect ;  it  is  a  strain 
which  7  distends,  and  then  bursts  [V]  the  circumference  of 
the  hearer's  8  mind,  and  pours  itself  forth  together  with  it 
into  the  universal  element  with  which  it  has  perpetual  sym- 
pathy. All  the  *  authors  of  revolutions  in  opinion  are  not 
only  necessarily  poets  as  they  are  inventors,  nor  even  as  their 
words  unveil  the  10  permanent  analogy  of  things  by  images 
which  participate  in  the  life  of  truth ;  but  as  their  periods 
are  harmonious  and  rhythmical,  and  contain  in  themselves 
the  elements  of  verse ;  being  the  echo  of  the  eternal  music. 
Nor  are  those  supreme  poets,  who  have  employed  traditional 
forms  of  rhythm  on  account  of  the  form  and  action  of  their 
subjects,  less  capable  of  perceiving  and  teaching  the  truth 
of  things,  than  those  who  have  omitted  that  form.  Shake- 
speare, Dante,  and  Milton  (to  confine  ourselves  to  modern 
writers)  are  philo-[VI]-sophers  of  the  very  loftiest  power. 

*  See  the   Filum  Labyrinth!,  and  the  Essay  on  Death  particularly 
[Shelley's  note]. 

1  form  and  inserted.  2  is  in  MS. 

3  concieve  in  MS.    The  sentence  runs  on  in  the  MS. 

4  should  in  MS. 

5  Shelley  began  to  write  essentially],  but  cancelled  the  word. 

6  and  therefore  cancelled.  7  fills  and  cancelled. 

8  hearer's  in  MS.  *  great  inserted  and  cancelled. 

10  real  cancelled  and  permanent  inserted. 


•\  t^  i  ? 

\^    \'  »    ^  » 

k  ; 



i  .3*^  iUMiiJ; 

^1.^  v^^ 

^         '«     ..      'V 



A  Defence  of  Poetry 

A  poem  is  the  l  image  of  life  expressed  in  its  eternal  truth. 
There  is  this  difference  between  a  story  and  a  poem,  that  a 
story  is  a  catalogue  of  detached  facts,  which  have  no  other 
connection  than  time,  place,  circumstance,  cause  and  effect  ; 
the  other  is  the  creation  of  actions  according  to  the  unchange- 
able forms  of  human  nature,  as  existing  in  the  mind  of  the 
Creator,  which  is  itself  the  image  of  all  other  minds.  The 
one  is  partial,  and  applies  only  to  a  definite  2  period  of  time, 
and  a  certain  combination  of  events  which  can  never  again 
recur  ;  the  other  is  universal,  and  contains  within  itself  the 
germ  of  a  relation  to  whatever  3  motives  or  actions  4  have 
.place  in  the  possible  varieties  of  human  nature.  Time,  which 
destroys  5  the  beauty  and  the  use  of  the  story  [VII]  of  particular 
facts,  stripped  of  the  poetry  which  should  invest  them,  augments 
that  of  poetry,  and  for  ever  develops  new  and  wonderful 
applications  of  the  eternal  truth  which  it  contains.  Hence 
epitomes  have  been  called  the  moths  of  just  history ;  they 
eat  out  the  poetry  of  it.  The  6  story  of  particular  facts  is  as 
a  mirror  which  obscures  and  distorts  that  which  should  be 
beautiful :  Poetry  is  a  mirror  which  makes  beautiful  that 
which  is  distorted. 

The  parts  of  a  composition  may  be  poetical,  without  the 
composition  as  a  whole  being  a  poem.  A  single  sentence 
may  be  considered  as  a  whole,  though  it  7  be  found  in  8  a 
series  of  unassimilated  portions  ;  a  single  word  even  may  be 
a  spark  of  inextinguishable  thought.  And  thus  all  the  great 
historians,  Herodotus,  Plutarch,  Livy,  were  poets ;  and 
although  the  plan  of  their  works,9  especially  that  [VIII]  of 
Livy,  restrained  them  from  developing  this  faculty  in  its 
highest  degree,  they  make  10  copious  and  ample  amends  for 
their  subjection,  by  filling  all  the  interstices  of  their  subjects 
with  living  images. 

Having  determined  what  is  poetry,  and  who  are  poets,  let 
us  proceed  to  estimate  its  effects  upon  society. 

Poetry  is  ever  accompanied  with  pleasure  :  all  spirits  on 
which  it  falls  open  themselves  to  receive  the  wisdom  which 
is  mingled  with  its  delight.  In  the  infancy  of  the  world, 
neither  poets  themselves  nor  their  auditors  are  fully  aware 

1  very  not  in  MS.  a  condition  inserted  and  cancelled. 

3  thoughts  inserted  and  cancelled.  *  which  cancelled. 

5  the  value  cancelled  •  The  in  MS. 

7  may  not  in  MS.  8  the  midst  of  not  in  MS. 

9  their  works  in  MS.  10  make  in  MS. 


Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

of  the  excellency  l  of  poetry  :  for  it  acts  in  a  divine  and  un- 
apprehended  manner,  beyond  and  above  consciousness  ;  and 
it  is  reserved  for  future  generations  to  contemplate  and 
measure  the  mighty  cause  and  effect  in  all  the  strength  and 
splendour  of  their  union.  Even  in  modern  times,  no  living 
[IX]  poet  ever  arrived  at  the  fulness  of  his  fame ;  the  jury 
which  sits  in  judgment  on  2  a  poet,  belonging  as  he  does  to  all 
time,  must  be  composed  of  his  peers  :  3  it  must  be  impanneled 
by  Time  4  from  the  selectest  of  the  wise  of  many  generations. 
A  poet  is  a  nightingale,  who  sits  in  darkness  and  sings  to 
cheer  its  own  solitude  with  sweet  sounds  ;  his  auditors  are 
as  men  entranced  by  the  melody  of  5  an  unseen  musician, 
who  feel  that  they  are  moved  and  softened,  yet  know  not 
whence  or  why.  The  poems  of  Homer  and  his  contemporaries 
were  the  delight  of  infant  Greece ;  they  were  the  elements  of 
that  social  system  which  6  is  the  column  upon  which  all  suc- 
ceeding civilisation  has  reposed.  Homer  embodied  the  ideal 
perfection  of  his  age  in  human  character ;  nor  can  we  doubt 
that  those  [X]  who  read  his  verses  were  awakened  to  an 
ambition  of  becoming  like  to  Achilles,  Hector,  and  Ulysses  : 
the  truth  and  beauty  of  friendship,  patriotism,  and  persevering 
devotion  to  an  object,  were  unveiled  to  the  depths  in  these 
immortal  creations  :  the  sentiments  of  the  auditors  must 
have  been  refined  and  enlarged  by  a  sympathy  with  such  great 
and  lovely  impersonations, 7  until  from  admiring  they  imitated, 
and  from  imitation  they  identified  themselves  with  the  objects 
of  their  admiration.  Nor  let  it  be  objected,  that  these  char- 
acters are  remote  from  moral  perfection,  and  that  they  can 
by  no  means  be  considered  as  edifying  patterns  for  general 
imitation.  Every  epoch,  under  names  more  or  less  specious, 
has  deified  its  peculiar  8  errors  ;  Revenge  is  the  naked  idol 
of  the  worship  of  a  semi-barbarous  age  ;  and  Self-deceit  is 
the  veiled  Image  of  unknown  evil,  [XI]  before  which  9  luxury 
and  satiety  lie  prostrate.  But  a  poet  considers  the  vices  of 
his  contemporaries  as  the  10  temporary  dress  [in]  u  which  his 
creations  12  must  be  arrayed,  and  which  cover  without  con- 
cealing the  eternal  proportions  of  their  beauty.  An  13  epic  or 

excellency  in  MS.  2  on  in  MS. 

and  they  inserted  and  cancelled.  *  out  cancelled. 

an  invisible  cancelled. 

was  one  of  the  inserted  and  cancelled. 

A  word  inserted  here  and  cancelled.          8  vices  inserted  and  cancelled. 

the  cancelled.  10  peculiar  cancelled. 

1    in  inserted  and  cancelled.  12  are  to  cancelled. 

1J  poetical  cancelled. 


A  Defence  of  Poetry 

dramatic  personage  is  understood  to  wear  them  around  his 
soul,  as  he  may  the  ancient  armour  or  the  modern  uniform 
around  his  body  ;  whilst  it  is  easy  to  conceive  a  dress  more 
graceful  than  either.  The  beauty  of  the  internal  nature  cannot 
be  so  far  concealed  by  its  accidental  vesture,  but  that  the 
spirit  of  its  form  shall  communicate  itself  to  the  very  disguise, 
and  indicate  the  shape  it  hides  from  the  manner  in  which  it 
is  worn.  A  majestic  form  and  graceful  motions  will  express 
themselves  l  through  the  most  barbarous  and  tasteless  costume. 
[XlA]  Few  poets  of  the  highest  class  have  chosen  to  2  exhibit 
the  beauty  of  their  conceptions  in  its  naked  truth  and  splendour; 
and  it  is  doubtful  whether  the  alloy  of  costume,  habit,  etc., 
be  not  necessary  to  temper  this  planetary  music  for  mortal 

The  whole  objection,  however,3  of  the  immorality  of  poetry 
rests  upon  a  [XIIJ  misconception  of  the  manner  in  which 
poetry  acts  to  produce  the  moral  improvement  of  man. 
Ethical  science  arranges  the  elements  which  poetry  has  created, 
and  propounds  schemes  and  proposes  examples  of  civil  and 
domestic  life  :  nor  is  it  for  want  of  admirable  doctrines  that 
men  hate,  and  despise,  and  censure,  and  deceive,  and  subjugate 
one  another.  But  poetry  acts  in  another  and  diviner  manner. 
It  awakens  and  enlarges  the  mind  itself  by  rendering  it  the 
receptacle  of  a  thousand  unapprehended  combinations  of 
thought.  Poetry  lifts  the  veil  from  the  hidden  beauty  of  the 
world,  and  makes  familiar  objects  be  as  if  they  were  not 
familiar ;  it  reproduces  all  that  it  represents,  and  the  im- 
personations clothed  in  its  Elysian  light  stand  thenceforward 
in  the  minds  of  those  who  have  once  contemplated  them,4 
as  memorials  of  that  gentle  and  exalted  content  which  extends 
itself  over  all  thoughts  and  actions  with  which  it  coexists.  The 
great  secret  of  morals  is  love  ;  or  a  going  out  of  our  nature,  and 
an  identification  of  ourselves  with  the  beautiful  which  exists  in 
thought,  action,  or  person,  not  our  own.  A  man,  to  be  greatly 
good,  must  imagine  intensely  and  comprehensively  ;  he  must 
put  himself  in  the  place  of  another  and  of  many  others  ;  the 
pains  and  pleasures  of  his  species  must  become  his  own.  The 
great  instrument  of  moral  good  is  the  imagination  ;  and  poetry 
administers  to  the  effect  by  acting  upon  the  cause.  Poetry  en- 
larges the  circumference  of  the  imagination  by  replenishing  it 

1  upon  cancelled.  2  paint  cancelled. 

3  which  inserted  and  cancelled. 

4  A  page  is  missing  from  the  MS.  here ;    the  text,  in  italics,  is  supplied 
from  Mrs.  Shelley's  version. 


Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

with  thoughts  of  ever  new  delight,  which  have  the  power  of  attract- 
ing and  assimilating  to  their  own  nature  all  other  thoughts,  and 
which  form  new  intervals  and  interstices  whose  void  for  ever 
craves  fresh  food.  [XIII]  Poetry  strengthens  the  faculty  which 
is  the  organ  of  the  moral  nature  of  man,  in  the  same  manner 
as  exercise  strengthens  a  limb.  A  poet  therefore  would  do 
ill  to  embody  his  own  conceptions  of  x  right  and  wrong,  which 
are  usually  those  of  his  place  and  time,  in  his  poetical  creations, 
which  participate  in  neither.  By  this  assumption  of  the 
inferior  office  of  interpreting  the  effect,  in  which  perhaps  after 
all  he  might  acquit  himself  but  imperfectly,  he  would  resign 
the  2  glory  of  3  a  participation  in  the  cause.  There  was  little 
danger  that  Homer,  or  any  of  the  eternal  Poets,  should  have 
so  far  misunderstood  themselves  as  to  have  abdicated  this 
throne  of  their  widest  dominion.  Those  in  whom  the  poetical 
faculty,  though  great,  is  less  intense,  as  Euripides,  Lucan, 
Tasso,  Spenser,  have  frequently  affected  a  moral  aim,  and 
the  effect  of  their  [XIV]  poetry  is  diminished  but  4  in  exact 
proportion  to  the  degree  in  which  they  compel  us  to  advert 
to  this  purpose. 

Homer  and  the  cyclic  5  poets  were  followed  at  a  certain 
interval  by  the  dramatic  and  lyrical  Poets  of  Athens,  who 
nourished  contemporaneously  with  all  that  is  most  perfect 
in  the  kindred  expressions  of  the  poetical  faculty ;  archi- 
tecture, painting,  music,  the  dance,  sculpture,  philosophy, 
and  we  may  add,  the  forms  of  civil  life.  For  although  the 
scheme  of  Athenian  society  was  deformed  by  many  imper- 
fections which  the  poetry  existing  in  chivalry  and  Christianity 
have 6  erased  from  the  habits  and  institutions  of  modern 
Europe ;  yet  never  at  any  other  period  has  so  much  energy, 
beauty,  and  virtue  been  developed ;  never  was  blind  strength 
and  stubborn  form  so  disciplined  and  rendered  subject  to  the 
will  of  man,  or  that  will  [XV]  less  repugnant  to  the  dictates 
of  the  beautiful  and  the  true,  as  during  the  century  which 
pieceded  the  death  of  Socrates.  Of  no  other  epoch  in  the 
history  of  our  species  have  we  records  and  fragments  stamped 
so  visibly  with  the  image  of  the  divinity  in  man.  But  it  is 
Poetry  alone,  in  form,  in  action,  or  in  language,  which  has 
rendered  this  epoch  memorable  above  all  others,  and  the  store- 
house of  examples  to  everlasting  time.  For,  written  poetry 

1  moral  deleted.  2  the  in  MS. 

3  of  in  MS.  4  but  in  MS. 

5  and  religion  deleted.  6  have  in  MS. 


A   Defence  of  Poetry 

existed  at  that  epoch  simultaneously  with  the  other  arts,  and 
it  is  an  idle  enquiry  x  to  demand  which  gave  and  which  re- 
ceived the  light,  which  all  as  from  a  common  focus,  have 
scattered  over  the  darkest  periods  of  succeeding  age.2  We 
know  no  more  of  cause  and  effect  than  a  constant  conjunction 
of3  events.  Poetry  is  ever  found  to  coexist  with  whatever 
other  arts  contribute  to  the  happiness  and  perfection  of  man. 
I  appeal  to  what  has  [XVI]  already  been  established  to  dis- 
tinguish between  the  cause  and  the  effect. 

It  was  at  the  period  here  adverted  to,  that  the  Drama  had 
its  birth  ;  and  however  a  succeeding  writer  may  have  equalled 
or  surpassed  those  few  great  specimens  of  the  Athenian  drama 
which  have  been  preserved  to  us,  it  is  indisputable  that  the 
art  itself  never  was  understood  or  practised  according  to  the 
true  philosophy  of  it,  as  at  Athens.  For  the  Athenians  em- 
ployed language,  action,  music,  painting,  the  dance,  and 
religious  institutions,  to  produce  a  common  effect  in  the 
representation  of  the  highest  idealisms  of  passion  and  of 
power ;  each  division  of  4  the  art  was  made  perfect  in  its 
kind  by  artists  of  the  most  consummate  skill,  and  was  disci- 
plined into  a  beautiful  proportion  and  unity  5  one  towards 
the  other.  [XVII]  On  the  modern  stage  a  few  only  of  the 
elements  capable  of  expressing  the  image  of  the  poet's  con- 
ception are  employed  at  once.  We  have  tragedy  without 
music  and  dancing  ;  and  music  and  dancing  without  the  high 6 
impersonations  of  which  they  are  the  fit  accompaniment,  and 
both  without  religion  and  solemnity ; 7  religious  institution 
has  indeed  been  usually 8  banished  from  the  stage.  Our 
system  of  divesting  the  actor's  face  of  a  mask,  on  which  the 
many  expressions  appropriated  to  9  his  dramatic  character 
might 10  be  moulded  into  one  permanent  and  unchanging 
expression,  is  favourable  only  to  a  partial  and  inharmonious 
effect ;  it  is  fit  for  nothing  but  a  monologue,  where  all  the 
attention  may  be  directed  to  some  great  master  of  ideal  mimicry. 
The  modern  practice  of  blending  comedy  with  tragedy,  though 
[XVIII]  liable  to  great  abuse  in  point  of  practise,11  is  un- 
doubtedly an  extension  of  the  Dramatic  circle  ;  but  the  comedy 
should  be  as  in  King  Lear,  universal,  ideal,  and  sublime.  It  is 

enquiry  in  MS.  2  age  in  MS. 

certain  cancelled.  *  o/in  MS. 

among  each  other  inserted  and  cancelled.  8  high  in  MS. 
The  sentence  runs  on  in  the  MS. 

completely  inserted  and  cancelled,,  9  the  deleted. 

10  should  is  deleted.  "  practise  in  MS. 


Shelley's  MS.   Note-Book 

perhaps  the  intervention  of  this  principle  which  determines 
the  balance  in  favour  of  King  Lear  against  the  QEdipus  Tyrannus 
or  the  Agamemnon,  or,  if  you  will,  the  trilogies  with  which 
they  are  connected ;  unless  the  x  intense  power  of  the  choral 
poetry,  especially  that  of  the  latter,  should  be  considered 
as  restoring  the  equilibrium.  King  Lear,  if  it  can  sustain 
this  comparison,  may  be  judged  to  be  the  most  perfect  specimen 
of  the  dramatic  art  existing  in  the  world  ;  in  spite  of  the  narrow 
conditions  to  which  the  poet  was  subjected  by  the  ignorance 
of  the  philosophy  of  the  drama  2  which  has  prevailed  in  modern 
Europe.  Cal-[XIX]-deron,  in  his  religious  Autos,  has  3  at- 
tempted to  fulfil  some  of  the  high  conditions  of  dramatic 
representation  neglected  by  Shakespeare ;  such  as  the  estab- 
lishing a  relation  between  the  drama  and  religion,  and  the 
accommodating  them  to  music  and  dancing ;  but  he  omits 
the  observation  of  conditions  still  more  important,  and  more 
is  lost  than  gained  by  the  substitution  of  the  rigidly  defined 
and  ever-repeated  idealisms  of  a  distorted  superstition  for 
the  living  impersonations  of  the  truth  of  human  passion. 

But  we 4  digress. — 5  The  Author  of  the  4  Ages  of  Poetry  has 
prudently  omitted  to  dispute  on  the  effect  of  the  Drama  upon 
life  and  manners.  For,  if  I  know  the  Knight  by  the  device 
of  his  shield,  I  have  only  to  inscribe  Philoctetes  or  Agamemnon 
or  Othello  upon  mine  to  put  to  flight  the  giant  sophisms  [XX] 
which  have  enchanted  them,  as  the  mirror  of  intolerable  light 
though  on  the  arm  of  one  of  the  weakest  of  the  Paladins  could 
blind  and  scatter  whole  armies  of  necromancers  and  pagans. 
The  6  connection  of  scenic  exhibitions  7  with  the  improvement 
or  corruption  of  the  manners  of  men,  has  been  universally 
recognised  ;  in  other  words,8  the  presence  or  absence  of  poetry 
in  its  most  perfect  and  universal  form  has  been  found  to  be 
connected  with  good  and  evil  in  conduct  or  habit.  The 
corruption  which  has  been  imputed  to  the  drama  as  an  effect, 
begins,  when  the  poetry  employed  in  its  constitution,  ends  : 
I  appeal  to  the  history  of  manners  whether  the  gradations  • 
of  the  growth  of  the  one  and  the  decline  of  the  other  have  not 
corresponded  with  an  exactness  equal  to  any  other  10  [XXI] 
example  of  moral  cause  and  effect. 

1  superior  cancelled.  2  art  cancelled. 

8  fulfilled  in  cancelled.  *  we  in  MS. 

6  This  paragraph,  down  to  the  word  pagans,  which  had  special  reference 
to  Peacock's  essay  on  the  "  Four  Ages  of  Poetry,"  was  omitted  by 
Mrs.  Shelley  when  she  first  printed  Shelley's  Defence. 

6  the  effect  of  the  inserted  and  cancelled.  *  in  deleted. 

8  that  deleted.  •  gradations  in  MS.  w  other  in  MS. 


A  Defence  of  Poetry 

The  drama  at  Athens,  or  wheresoever  else  it  may  have 
approached  to  its  perfection,  ever  coexisted  with  the  moral 
and  intellectual  greatness  of  the  age.  The  tragedies  of  the 
Athenian  poets  are  as  mirrors  in  which  the  spectator  beholds 
himself,  under  a  thin  disguise  of  circumstance,  stript  of  all 
but  that  ideal  perfection  and  energy  which  every  one  feels 
to  be  the  internal  type  of  all  that  he  Loves,  admires,  and 
would  become.  The  imagination  is  enlarged  by  a  sympathy 
with  pains  and  passions  so  mighty,  that  they  distend  in  their 
conception  the  capacity  of  that  by  which  they  are  conceived  ; 
the  good  affections  are  strengthened  by  pity,  indignation, 
terror  and  sorrow ;  and  an  exalted  calm  is  prolonged  from 
the  satiety  of  this  high  exercise  of  them  into  [XXII]  the  tumult 
of  familiar  life  :  even  crime  is  x  disarmed  of  half  its  honor 
and  all  its  contagion  by  being  represented  as  the  fatal  conse- 
quence of  the  unfathomable  agencies  of  nature ;  error  is  thus 
divested  of  its  wilfulness  ; 2  men  can  no  longer  cherish  it  as 
the  creation  of  their  choice  :  in  a  drama  of  the  highest  order 
there  is  little  food  for  censure  or  hatred  ;  it  teaches  rather 
self-knowledge  and  self-respect.  Neither  the  eye  nor  the 
mind  can  see  itself,  unless  reflected  upon  that  which  it  resembles. 
The  drama,  so  long  as  it  continues  to  express  poetry,  is  as  a 
prismatic  and  many-sided  mirror,  which  collects  the  brightest 
rays  of  human  nature  and  3  divides  and  reproduces  them 
from  the  simplicity  of  these  elementary  forms,  and  touches 
them  with  majesty  and  beauty,  and  multiplies  all  that  it 
reflects,  and  endows  it  with  the  power  of  [XXIII]  propagating 
its  like  wherever  it  may  fall. 

But  in  periods  of  the  decay  of  the  4  social  life,  the  drama 
sympathises  with  that  decay.  Tragedy  becomes  a  cold 
imitation  of  the  form  of  the  great  masterpieces  of  antiquity, 
divested  of  all  harmonious  accompaniment  of  the  kindred 
arts  ;  and  often  the  very  form  misunderstood,  or  a  weak 
attempt  to  teach  certain  doctrines,  which  the  writer  considers 
as  moral  truths  ;  and  which  are  usually  no  more  than  specious 
flatteries  of  some  gross  vice  or  weakness,  with  which  the 
author,  in  common  with  his  auditors,  are  infected.  Hence 
what  has  been  called  the  classical  and  domestic  drama. 
Addison's  Cato  is  a  specimen  of  the  one ;  and  would  it  were 
not  superfluous  to  cite  examples  of  the  other  !  To  such 
purposes  poetry  cannot  be  made  subservient.  Poetry  [XXIV] 

1  divested  deleted.  2  The  sentence  runs  on. 

s  and  divides  them  deleted  ;  and  divides  written  again.          *  the  in  MS. 


Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

is  a  sword  of  lightning,  ever  unsheathed,  which  consumes 
the  scabbard  that  would  contain  it.  And  thus  we  observe 
that  all  dramatic  writings  of  this  nature  are  unimaginative 
in  a  singular  degree ;  they  affect  sentiment  and  passion, 
which,  divested  of  imagination,  are  other  names  for  caprice 
and  appetite.  The  period  *  in  our  own  history  of  the  grossest 
degradation  of  the  drama  is  the  reign  of  Charles  II.,  when  all 
forms  in  which  poetry  had  been  accustomed  to  be  expressed 
became  hymns  to  the  triumph  of  kingly  power  over  liberty 
and  virtue.  Milton  stood  alone  illuminating  an  age  unworthy 
of  him. 

"  ADONAIS  " 

[Shelley  employed  himself,  at  Pisa,  during  the  months  of 
May  and  June  1821,  in  writing  Adonais.  In  a  letter  to 
his  friends  the  Gisbornes,  written  early  in  June,  he  says :  "  I 
have  been  engaged  these  last  days  in  composing  a  poem  on 
the  death  of  Keats,  which  will  shortly  be  finished  ;  and  I 
anticipate  the  pleasure  of  reading  it  to  you,  as  some  of  the 
very  few  persons  who  will  be  interested  in  it  and  understand  it. 
It  is  a  highly-wrought  piece  of  art,  and  perhaps  better  in 
point  of  composition,  than  anything  I  have  written."  That 
he  ranked  the  poem  highly  we  may  gather,  as  he  also  told 
Miss  Clairmont,  in  a  letter  of  June  8,  that  it  was  better  than 
anything  that  he  had  written,  and  "  worthy  both  of  him 
[Keats]  and  of  me."  On  the  same  date  he  informed  Oilier, 
his  publisher,  that  he  had  finished  the  poem,  and  that  it 
consisted  of  about  forty  Spenser  stanzas,  which  were  to 
be  preceded  by  a  criticism  on  Hyperion.  Shelley  did  not 
fulfil  his  intention  of  writing  this  criticism  or  of  publishing 
the  poem  in  London,  but  sent  the  MS.  on  June  16  to  press 
at  Pisa,  where  it  was  printed  handsomely  "  with  the  types 
of  Didot."  On  July  13  he  presented  a  copy,  the  only  one 
that  had  been  delivered,  to  John  and  Maria  Gisborne. 

The  notes  for  the  preface  that  follow  occupy  fourteen  pages 
of  the  note-book,  and  in  the  transcript  I  have  numbered  them 
with  Roman  figures.  A  few  passages  were  printed  in  The 
Relics  of  Shelley,  1862,  by  Dr.  Richard  Garnett,  who  adopted 
his  own  arrangement.  None  of  the  cancelled  fragments  of 

1  of  cancelled. 

Preface  to   "  Adonais  v 

Adonais  printed  in  the  same  volume  by  Dr.  Garnett  were 
derived  from  the  present  manuscript.  The  following  early 
draft  of  the  poem,  which  is  now  printed  for  the  first  time,  is  not 
only  interesting  as  showing  the  steps  by  which  Shelley  built 
up  his  elegy,  but  as  revealing  here  and  there  passages  worthy 
of  preservation.  One  page,  marked  XVII  in  the  fascimile, 
and  a  few  lines  on  other  pages  of  the  MS.  I  have  failed  to 
decipher.  Most  of  the  pages  bearing  these  notes  for  the  poem 
are  in  a  very  imperfect  and  damaged  condition.  The  text 
of  each  stanza  as  printed  by  Shelley  is  given  in  italics.] 


[I]  No  personal  offence  should  have  drawn  from  me  this 
public  comment  upon  such  stuff  as  ... 

Keats  came  to  Italy  ...  I  knew  personally  but  little  of 
Keats  having  met  him  two  or  three  [?  times]  at  my  friend 
Hunt's,  but  on  the  news  of  his  situation  I  wrote  to  him  sug- 
gesting the  propriety  of  trying  the  Italian  climate  and  inviting 
him  to  join  me.  His  answer  to  my  letter  was  .  .  .  Unfortu- 
nately he  did  not  allow  me  .  .  . 

Since  however  this  notice  has  been  [II]  wrested  from  me 
[?  by]  indignation  and  [sympathy]  my  pity  I  will  allow  myself  a 
first  and  last  word  on  the  subject  of  calumny  as  it  relates  to 
me  [and  now  all  further  public  discussions  must  be  closed] .  As 
an  author  I  have  dared  and  invited  censure ;  [my  opinions]  if  I 
understand  myself  I  have  written  neither  for  profit  nor  fame. 
I  have  [sought  to  erect  a  sympathy  between  my  species  and 
myself]  employed  my  poetical  compositions  and  publications 
simply  as  the  instruments  of  that  sympathy  between  myself 
and  others  which  the  ardent  and  unbounded  love  I  [felt] 
cherished  for  my  kind  incited  me  to  acquire.  I  expected  all 
sorts  of  stupidity  and  insolent  contempt  from  these  .  .  . 

[III]  These   compositions    (excepting   the   tragedy   of   the 
Cenci  which  was  written  in  a  hurry  rather  to  try  my  powers 
than  to  unburden  my  full  heart)  are  [wretchedly  inadequate] 
insufficiently  .  .  . 

[IV]  .  .  .  commendation  than  perhaps  they  deserve ;    even 
from  their  bitterest  enemies  ;  but  they  have  not  attained  any 
corresponding  popularity.     As  a  man,  I  shrink  from  notice 
and  regard  ;   the  cea[seless]  ebb  and  flow  of  the  world  vexes 
me ;    My  habits  are  simple  I  know.     I  desire  to  be  left  in 
peace.     I  have  been  the  victim  of  a  monstrous  and  unheard 

Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

of  tyranny.  I  am  the  victim  of  a  despotic  power  which 
has  violated  in  my  home  the  rights  of  nature  and  has  [V] 
stooped  into  the  region  where  such  as  hell-[  .  .  .  ]  [animal] 
a  slave  can  breathe.  I  think  it  necessary  to  hang  out  a 
bloody  flag  where  the  tyger  [.  .  .]  has  made  his  meal  of  Liberty. 

Reviewers,  with  some  rare  exceptions  are  in  general  a  most 
stupid  and  malignant  race ;  as  a  bankrupt  thief  turns  thief- 
taker  in  despair ;  so  an  unsuccessful  Author  turns  Critic 
and  punishes  others  of  that  .  .  . 

There  are  honest  and  honorable  men  among  Reviewers 
no  doubt,  but  these  will  be  foremost  .  .  . 

[VI]  The  shaft  which  this  Parthian  shot,  fell  on  a  heart 
[cased  in]  made  callous  by  many  blows,  but  poor  Keats's 
was  composed  of  more  penetrable  stuff. — The  Endymion  was 
a  poem  in  which  a  critic  will  find  indeed  much  to  condemn, 
but  was  there  nothing  to  applaud  ?  Were  there  no  traces 
of  a  sublime  genius  mingled  with  errors  of  taste  and  obscurity 
of  purpose  ?  Could  the  critics  who  found  the  Revd.  Mr. 
Somebody's  Paris  sublime  because  it  flattered  their  masters, 
and  who  wrote  with  complacence  of  Mr.  Gatty  [VII]  Knight's 
Syrian  Tale — because  it  was  published  at  Murray's  who  printed 
Mr.  Milman's  drama  of  Jerusalem  a  mere  well-written  imitation 
of  [Kehama]  Southey,  and  the  everlasting  poetry  of  Lord  Byron 
that  they — who  talk  with  patience  of  such  drivelling  as  Brutus 
and  Evadne — could  they  find  nothing  to  commend  in  the 
Endymion  ?  At  what  gnat  did  they  strain  here,  after  having 
swallowed  all  those  camels  ?  Mr.  Southey  and  Mr.  Gifford 
well  know  what  true  poetry  is ;  Mr.  Southey,  especially,  who 
has  edited  the  remains  of  Kirke  White,  knows  ;  they  could 
not  have  been  mistaken  with  respect  to  the  indications  afforded 
by  portions  of  this  poem  of  such  astonishing  descriptive  power 
which  they  will  have  observed  in  the  Hyperion.  Surely  such 
[VIII]  men  as  these  hold  their  repute  cheap  in  permitting  to 
their  subordinate  associates  so  great  a  licence,  not  of  praise 
which  can  do  little  mischief,  but  of  censure  which  may  destroy 
— and  has  destroyed  one  of  the  noblest  specimens  of  the  work- 
manship of  God.  It  shall  be  no  excuse  to  the  murderer  that 
he  has  spoken  daggers  but  used  none. 

The  offence  of  this  poor  victim  seems  to  have  consisted 
solely  in  his  intimacy  with  Leigh  Hunt,  Mr.  Hazlitt  and  some 
others  of  the  enemies  of  despotism  and  superstition.  My 
friend  Hunt  has  a  very  hard  skull  to  crack,  and  would  take 
a  deal  of  killing.  I  do  not  know  much  of  Mr.  Hazlitt,  but  .  .  . 

[IX]  [Mr.]  Keats  was  the  chosen  intimate  of  [Hunt]  Leigh 


i#:  (iiS 

vs  i    '         '     •  •   1*  v\  j    ^  «  -s 



Preface  to   "  Adonais  ': 

Hunt  and  Mr.  Hazlitt  and  other  enemies  of  despotism  and 
superstition.  The  Quarterly  Review  has  .  .  . 

Mr.  Gifford  I  believe  .  .  .  learned  .  .  . 

The  Editor  of  this  Quarterly  Review  in  particular  amongst 
[many  persons]  of  the  most  splendid  accomplishments  and  the 
most  honourable  minds  certainly  has  in  his  employment  the 
most  malignant  and  accomplished  slanderers.  But  I  should 
have  hated  him  had  he  ventured  on  any  .  .  .  insinua- 
tion that  ever  prostituted  his  soul  for  twenty  pounds  per 

[X]  The  bigot  will  say  it  was  the  recompense  of  my  errors, 
the  man  of  the  world  will  call  it  the  result  of  my  imprud- 
ence [but  never  was  calumny  heaped  in  so  profuse  a  measure 
upon  any  head  as  upon  mine].     Persecution,  contumely  and 
calumny  have  been  heaped  upon  me  in  profuse  measure.     I  have 
[been  made  the  victim  of  a  tyranny  .  .  .]  domestic  conspiracy 
and  legal  oppression  combined  have  violated  in  my  person 
the  most  sacred  rights  of  nature  and  humanity,    .    .    .    [my 
health  .  .  .]  and  the  chastening  of  my  spirit. 

[XI]  The  scheme  of  such  writers  is  to  extinguish  .  .  . 

But  in  the  present  instance  the  merits  and  the  demerits, 
the  truth  and  falsehood  of  the  case  were  [so  carefully  en- 
tangled .  .  .]  But  a  young  mind  panting  after  fame  is  the  most 
vulnerable  prey  :  he  is  armed  neither  with  philosophy  .  .  . 

[But  let  it  be  considered  that  an  animat[ed  ?]  But  a  young 
spirit  panting  for  fame,  doubtful  of  its  own  powers  and  certain 
only  of  its  aspirations,  is  but  ill  [qualified]  fitted  to  assign 
its  true  value  to  the  sneers  of  this  world. 

[XII]  [The  Endymion  merited  .  .  .] 
[His  happiness  is  in  the  present.] 

He  knows  not  that  such  stuff  as  this  is  of  the  abortive  and 
monstrous  Births  which  Time  consumes  as  fast  as  it  produces. 
He  sees  the  truth  and  falsehood,  the  merits  and  demerits  of 
his  case  inextricably  entangled. 

[XIII]  It  may  well  be  said  that  these  wretched  men  know 
not  what  they  do.     These  midwives  of  the  dross  and  abortions 
which  time  consumes  as  fast  as  it  produces  :   scatter  their 
insults  and  their  slanders  without  heed  as  to  whether  they 
light  on  a  heart  made  callous  by  many  blows  or  on  one  like 
Keats's  composed  of  more  penetrable  stuff.     One    of    them 
to  my  knowledge  is  ... 

Was  Endymion  a  poem  whatever  might  be  its  defects  to  be 
spoken  of  contemptuously  by  those  who  had  celebrated  with 
various  degrees  of  complacency  and  panegyric  Paris  and 

673  2  U 

Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

Woman  and  a  Syrian  Tale,  and  Mrs.  Lefanu  and  Mr.  Barrett 
and  Mr.  Milman  ? 

[XIV]  What  gnat  did  they  strain  at  here  after  having 
swallowed  all  these  camels  ?  What  is  the  woman  taken  in 
adultery  against  whom  the  foremost  of  these  literary  prostitutes 
has  cast  his  venal  stone  ?  Miserable  man,  [thou]  you  who  art 
one  of  the  meanest  have  destroyed  one  of  the  noblest  speci- 
mens of  the  workmanship  of  God.  Nor  shall  it  be  your  excuse 
that  [you  have]  murderer  as  you  are,  you  have  spoken  daggers 
but  used  none. 




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Shelley's  MS.   Note-Book 


[I  am  indebted  to  Mr.  R.  A.  Streatfeild  for  the  transcripts 
and  translations  of  these  verses,  which  do  not  appear  to  have 
been  published.  Trelawny  assured  Mr.  W.  M.  Rossetti  very 
positively  that  Shelley  originally  wrote  the  Epipsychidion  in 
Italian.  Is  it  possible  that  these  lines  form  a  portion  of  such 
a  design  which  he  may,  or  may  not,  have  completed  ?] 

Dal  spiro  della  tua 
La  chiara  fronte,  le  labbra  amorose 
La  guancia  dal  cadente  sole  tinta 
Gli  occhi,  ove  spento  tempo  posa 
Sono  imagini  dei  tuoi  in  tutta  vita 
Quella  T  odor  tu  la  stessa  rosa 
Questo  la  ombra  al  sostegno 
La  tua  venuta  aspettando 

la  vita  va  mancando. 

From  the  breath  of  thy 
The  clear  brow,  the  amorous  lips, 
The  cheek  tinted  by  the  setting  sun, 
The  eyes,  where  past  time  reposes, 
Are  images  of  thine  in  full  life 
This  is  the  fragrance,  thou  the  rose  herself 
This  shadow  in  support 
Thy  coming  expecting 

life  fades  away. 

Ah  non  pianger,  no  quaggiu  non  posso 
Ah,  weep  not,  here  below  I  cannot 

Dal  dura  prigione  della  passata 

Dal  vano  pentimento  e  vana  passione 

Dal  alta  speme  mai  non  compita 

Dalle  fantasmi  che  dal  memoria  vengon 

Inspirando  sogni  del  presente  ora 

O  dalle  ombre  che  il  futuro  anno 

Getta  davanti  .  .  . 

Dalla  morte  moriendo. 




O     X 

Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

From  the  cruel  prison  of  the  past, 
From  vain  repentance  and  vain  passion, 
From  the  lofty  hope  that  never  was  fulfilled, 
From  the  phantasms  that  come  from  memory, 
Inspiring  dreams  of  the  present  hour : 
O  from  the  shades  that  the  coming  year 
Throws  in  advance  .   .   . 
From  death  dying 

Cosl  vestiva  in  barbari  accent! 
II  vero  affetto  .  .   .  un'  armonia. 

So  have  I  clad  in  barbarous  accents 
The  true  affection  ...  a  harmony. 

Oh  non  piango,  s'  io  pianger  devo 

II  riflusso  della  sua  onda  in  un 

Dove  si  preparebbe  fabricarci 

Un  queto  asilo,  lontan  di  ogni  pena 

Scioglerq  un  .  .  .  sul  purpureo  Oceano  cielo 

Un  queto  asilo,  che  .   .  .  quando 

0  I  weep  not,  if  I  should  weep 
The  refluence  of  her  wave  in  a 
Where  might  be  prepared  for  us 
A  quiet  refuge  far  from  all  pain 

1  will  loose  a  ...  on  the  purple 
A  quiet  refuge,  where  .  .  .  when 

La  tua  venuta  nelle  isole  eterne 
Non  pianger  no  ... 

la  refluente  stretta 

Mi  porto  a  quel  porto  dove  si  aspettamo 
In  questo  asilo  .  .   . 

Thy  coming  into  the  eternal  isles 
Weep  not,  no  ... 

— the  refluence  quick 

I  take  myself  to  that  port  where  we  await  each  other 
In  this  refuge  .  .  . 

689  2  X 

Shelley's   MS.   Note-Book 

Non  mi  fu  conceduto  qui 

La  rapida  Peara 

-vj         .  ,     /conceduto 

1  \  dato  d*  aggiungere  il  voto 
Non  cercherei 
II  cielo 

Non  mai  avremo  al  di  13,  di  morte 
Cosi  arcato  al  di  la  di  morte 
Un  Paradiso,  dove  tu  non  stai 

It  was  not  granted  me  here 
The  rapid  Peara  (?) 

I  given  us  to  win  our  prayer 
I  would  not  seek 
We  shall  never  possess  on  the  far  side  of  death 

Thus  -f 

A  Paradise,  where  thou  standest  not 


Send  the  stars  bright, 

Send  not  love  to  me 

Where  it  has  blighted  a  bosom  white 

Send  the  stars  bright,  but  send  not  love  to  me 
In  whom  love  ever  made 

Health  [as  a  heap  of]  embers  soon  to  fade. 

[In  a  heart  is  vowed] 
That  heart  [was]  e'er  vowed  to  tears 

When  love  was  long  delay 
As  by  a  of  living  fire 

[For]  Then  more  than  this  wealth 

To  crown  with  love  and  health. 


*  3- 

-  v 






<  d 






*      H 

z  z 

\      UJ  O 

O  LU 

^   DC 

^  cc  p 

Shelley's  MS.  Note-Book 

Madonna  wherefore  hast  thou  sent  to  me 

Sweet  basil  and  mignonette 
[Alas  and  with] 

[Embleming  health  which  never  yet] 
Embleming  love  and  health  which  never  yet 

In  the  same  wreath  might  be — 
Alas,  and  they  are  wet 
And  is  it  with  thy  kisses  or  thy  tears  ? 
For  [it  is  not  with  dew] 
never  rain  or  dew 

Such  fragrance  drew 

From  leaf  or  flower,  the  very  doubt  endears 
[  sighs] 

My  sadness  ever  new 
The  sighs  I  breathe  the  tears  I  shed  for  thee. 

[On  another  sheet  Shelley  has  written  some  phrases  which 
appear  in  his  lines  to  Emelia  Viviani,  and  he  scribbled,  in  a 
feigned  hand,  the  name  of  Shakespeare  three  times,  and  that 
of  Milton  twice. 

The  piece  of  manuscript  on  the  smaller  sheet,  which  has  been 
reproduced  on  this  plate,  does  not  belong  to  the  MS.  note-book. 
It  is  the  portion  of  Shelley's  draft  of  "  A  Satire  on  Satire"  : 
this  and  another  leaf  are  in  the  collection  of  Sir  John '  C.  E. 
Shelley.  The  fragment  was  first  printed  by  the  late  Professor 
Dowden  in  the  Correspondence  of  Robert  Southey  and  Caroline 
Bowles,  1880,  and  subsequently  by  other  editors.] 



ABERNETHY,     Dr.     John,     212, 

523  n. 

Abingdon  (Oxford),  147 
Address  to  the  Irish  People,  An, 

Shelley's,  377~9,  383 
Adonais,  Shelley's,  670-87 
Aickin,  Mrs.,  nee  Shelley,  451 
Alastor,  Shelley's,  463 
Alder,  William,  477,  479 
Allegra  (daughter  of  Lord  Byron 

and  Miss  Clairmont),  521-2, 

528-9,  531 

Amory,  Mr.,  412,  449,  592-7 
Amos,  Andrew,  57 
Angeli,  Mrs.,  541 
Ariel,  the,  542,  659 
Arun  Cottage,  17 
Arundel  Castle  (Sussex),  12,  16 
Atlantic  Monthly,  480  n. 
Austen,  Jane,  73-4 
Avington  Park  (Hants),  13,  26 

BALDWIN  &  Co.,  463 
Ballantyne  &  Co.,  75-6 
Barruel,  Abbe,  185 
Bath,  Shelley  at,  469-74 
Battle  Abbey  (Sussex),  i 
Beauchamp,    Eliza.     See    West- 
Beauchamp,  Farthing,  512,  575, 


Beauclerc,  Lady  Diana,  89 
Beddoes,  Thomas  Lovell,  576 
Bedford,  Rev.  W.  K.  R.,  192 
Bell,  Mr.,  500 
Benbow,  W.,  617 
Bethell,  Rev.  George,  53-4,  66-7, 


Bird,  Mr.,  147,  631,  632 
Bishopsgate    (Windsor),    Shelley 

at,  455 

Blackburn,  Mr.,  461 
Blackwood's  Magazine,  578 
Bodleian  Library  (Oxford),  85 
Boinville,  M.  de,  408 
Boinville,  Mrs.,  407-8,411,418-9, 

422,  428-30,  441 
Bowen,  Charles,  589 
Bowen,  Elizabeth.     See  Shelley 
Bowles,  W.  L.,  94 
Bowley,  Mrs.,  342 
Bracknell    (Bucks),    Shelley    at, 

407-8,  419-21,  428 
Brentford    (Middlesex),    34,    46, 


Brighton  (Sussex),  189,  524 
British  Critic,  84,  99,  125 
British  Review,  84 
Broadbridge  Heath,  22 
"  Brooke,  Arthur."     See  Claris, 

J.  C. 
Brougham    and    Vaux,     Henry 

Brougham,  ist  Lord,  183 
Browne,    Felicia  Dorothea.     See 

Hemans,  Mrs. 
Browning,  Robert,  617-8 
Buffon,  George  Comte  de,  315 
Burdett,  Sir  Francis,  77 
Burdon,  Richard,  172 
Burney,  Fanny.     See  D'Arblay 
Bury,  Lady  Charlotte,  121,  126, 

192-3,  196 

Byron,  Lord,  80,  140  n.,  558 
his  English  Bards  and  Scotch 

Reviewers,  212-3 
an  admirer  of  Shelley's  poetry, 




Byron,  Lord,  first  meeting  with  '  Clairmont,  Clara  Mary  Jane,  ac 

Shelley  at  Geneva,  467,  623 
Shelley's    bequest    to,    470-3, 

his  liaison  with  Miss  Clairmont, 

521-2,  529 
and   the   guardianship   of   his 

child  Allegra,  531-2 
at  Ravenna,  539 
joins  Trelawny  at  Pisa,  541 
executor  of  Shelley's  will,  550 
his  kindness  to  Mary  Shelley 

after  the  poet's  death,  561 
appeals    to    Sir    Timothy    on 

behalf     of     Mary     Shelley, 

his     letter     to     Sir     Timothy 

Shelley,  563 

his  letter  to  Leigh  Hunt,  569 
Byron,  Mrs.  (Charlotte  Dacre  or 

"  Rosa  Matilda  "),  47,  85 


Calvert,  William,  361-2,  377, 

Calvert,  Mrs.,  377,  409 

Cambridge,  Sidney  Sussex  Col- 
lege, 19  ;  Trinity  College, 

Campbell,  Thomas,  75,  80,  288 

Cappuccini,  I',  Shelley  at,  533 

Carpenter  &  Son,  463 

Carter,  William,  517 

Castle  Goring  (Sussex),  15-7 

Castlereagh,  Lord,  149 

Cavendish,  Lord  George,  414 

Cenci,  The,  Shelley's,  535 

Century  Magazine,  399 

Chapel  Street  (Grosvenor  Square), 

companies  Shelley  and  Mary 
on  their  flight  to  the  Con- 
tinent, 438-40,  444,  641-2 
remains  with  the  Shelleys  in 

London,  445-6 

again  visits  the  Continent 
with  Shelley  and  Mary 

Shelley's  bequest  to,  471 
and     Shelley's     marriage     to 

Mary,  488-90 

goes  to  Marlow  with  the  Shel- 
leys, 518,  527 

her  liaison  with  Byron,  521—2 
and  the  guardianship  of  Alle- 
gra, 531-2 
at  Florence  with  the  Shelleys 

present  at  Sir  Percy  Shelley's 

baptism,  540 
and  Shelley's  death,  547 
joins   her   brother   Charles   at 

Vienna,  560 
Mary    Shelley's    kindness    to, 


Clapham     (Surrey),     Miss    Fen- 
ning's   school  at,  90-2,  95, 
265,  269,  271-2,  277 
Claris,   J.  C.,  "Arthur  Brooke" 


Clark,  Mrs.  Brodie,  35 
Clarke,  R.,    220-1,    233-6,    238- 

41,  621 
Clewer,  58 

Coleridge,  Edward,  66  n. 
Coleridge,  Sir  John  Taylor,  60-2 

66  n. 

Coleridge,    Samuel   Taylor,    288, 
359,  464,  617 

265,   267-9,   273,   301,    304,  I  Coleridge,  Mrs.  S.  T.,  359 

307,  401-2,  478,  516 
Chapuis,  Maison,  623 
Cheale,  Mary.     See  Michell 
Cheeseborough,  Rev.  Jacob,  506 
Chesterfield,     Philip     Stanhope, 

Earl  of,  20 

Clairmont,  Charles,  376,  547 
Clairmont,  Clara  Mary  Jane,  376, 

449,  562,  623, 

Coleridge,  Hon.  Stephen,  61-2 
Collingwood  &  Co.,  282 
Copleston,    Rev.    Edward,    196, 


Cornwall,  Barry.     See  Procter 
Cory,  William,  53-4,  60,  66 
Covent  Garden  Theatre,  31  n. 
Critical  Review,  85 

Crofts,  Miss  Margaret  L.,  399 

Shelley  in   England 

Cuckfield     (Sussex),     276,     280, 

284,  328,  332,  390 
Gumming,  William,  308,  310 
Cunningham,  Peter,  516  n. 
Curran,  Amelia,  586,  617 
Curran,  John  Philpot,  385 
Curteis,  T.  J.  Horsley,  46 
Cwm    Elan     (Radnorshire),    94, 

286,  292-8,  392-3 


Dacre,    Charlotte.      See    Byron, 


Dallaway,  Rev.  Edward,  172 
D'Arblay,  Madame,  67-8 
Dare,  Mr.,  360 

Dayrell,  Rev.  John,  124  n.,  161 
Defence  of  Poetry,  Shelley's,  660- 


De  Quincey,  Thomas,  359 
Desse,  Mr.,  307,  457,  459-61 
Dobell,  Bertram,  75,  78,  557 
Dodson,  Christopher,  241 
Dowden,  Professor,  20,  35,  50  n., 
54,  56,  60,  134,  143  n.,  151, 
185,     202,     208,     257,    297, 
301   n.,   305,   475,  500,  515, 

523>  535.  616 

Dublin,  Shelley  in,  377-87,  400-1 
Dublin  Press,  149 
Dublin    Weekly  Messenger,    150, 

379.  383,  385 
Du  Cane,  Peter,  451,  460 
Duke,  Sir  James,  22 
Dunn,  Mr.,  307 

Edgecumbe,  Richard,  80 
Edge  worth,  Maria,  73 
Edinburgh  Literary  Journal,  The, 

Edinburgh,    Shelley    at,    305-6, 

308-25,  361,  409 
Edwards,    Rev.   Evan,   32,    134, 


Effingham  Place  (Sussex),  21 
Eldon,   John  Scott,   ist  Earl  of 

(Lord  Chancellor),  205,  462, 

492,  502-6 

Ellenborough,  Edward  Law,  Earl 

of,  491 

Ellesmere  (Shropshire),  260 
Epipsychidion,  Shelley's,  688 
Esdaile,  Charles,  291,  384,  515 
Esdaile,  E.  J.,  515,  655-6 
Esdaile,  (Mrs)  lanthe  Elizabeth 

(daughter    of    Shelley    and 

Harriet),     402,     409,     420, 

442,  471-2,  475,  484,  486-7, 

490-516,  655-6 
Etheridge,  Allen,  368-71 
Eton  College,  44,  48,  51-71,  79, 

82-4,  153,  189,  204 
Examiner,  The,  183-4,  464.  51?. 

545.  547.  549 

159,  232-4,  236,  238 

Penning,  Miss,  90,  265,  269 

Fen  Place  (Sussex),  2 

Ferguson,  James  C.,  308  n. 

Fettes,  J.,  310 

Field  Place,  4,  7,  21-23,  68,  72, 
84,  93,  125,  135,  140,  143, 
154,  165,  167,  188,  204,  213, 
229-33,  245,  261,  264,  276, 
278,  281,  283-8,  329,  337 

Finnerty,  Peter,  121-2,  149-51, 
164,  183,  254,  382 

Florence,  Shelley  at,  536-9 

Forman,   Mr.   H.   Buxton,  C.B., 

208,  500  n.,  541,  570 
his  The  Shelley  Library,  291 

Franklin,  Benjamin,  66  n.,  170 

Eraser's  Magazine,  17,  77,  86, 

Garnett,   Dr.   Richard,   99,    100, 

135  n.,  627 

Cell,  John  Henry,  476 
Genoa,  54 

Gentleman's  Magazine,  557-8 
George  III,  9,  119 
George  IV,  288-91 
Gessner,  Solomon,  82,  89 
Gibbon,  Edward,  131 
Gibson,   Jane.     See  Jane,   Lady 




Gibson,  Thomas,  624 
Gisborne,  Mrs.,  547,  560,  617 
Globe,  The,  191 
Godwin,    Fanny    (Imlay),    376, 

Godwin,     Mary    Jane,    formerly 

Mrs.    Clairmont,     375,    386, 

4°6,     439,    44°,    446,    473, 

487-90,  611 
Godwin,    Mary    Wollstonecraft, 

375-6,  432-3,  558,  608 
Godwin,  Mary  W.     See  Shelley 
Godwin,  William,  191,  349,  406, 

460,  530,  553,  558,  615 
Shelley's  second  letter  to  God- 
win, quoted,  64,  74,  80 
his  novel,  St.  Leon,  85,  124 
his  Political  Justice,  132, 180-2, 

375,  386,  493 
his     ingratitude     to     Shelley, 

140  n. 
his     novel,     Caleb     Williams, 


his  dislike  of  entails,  246 
his  opinions  on  marriage,  275, 


Shelley  begins  a  correspond- 
ence with,  372 
his   interest   in    Shelley,    374, 

his    work    and    pursuits    and 

publications,  375  et  seq. 
Shelley's  pecuniary  assistance 

to,  413,  431,  446-9,  521-2 
and  Shelley's  elopement  with 

Mary,  445,  466,  486,  641-2 
his  gratification  at  his  daughter 

Mary's  marriage  to  Shelley, 

488-9,  653-4 
visits  the  Shelleys  at  Marlow, 

518,  526 
and    the    death    of    Shelley, 


and  Frankenstein,  572 

his  last  days,  607-8 

his  will,  611-2 
Goodall,  Dr.,  51-2 
Gordon,  Mr.,  524 
Graham,  Mr.,  223,  340 
Graham,  Dr.,  13 

Graham,  Edward  Fergus,  31  n., 
84,  90-2,  97,  120,  191-2, 
214-6,  282,  290,  299,  340-3, 

Graham,  Sir  James,  219 
Graham,  William,  632 
Gray,  Thomas,  32,  54,  58 
Great  Russell  Street,  Shelley  at, 


Grece,  Dr.  Clair  J.,  188 
Greenlaw,  Dr.,  36-8,  49,  512-3 
Greenlaw,  Mrs.,  36 
Greenlaw,  Miss,  36 
Gregson,  Mr.,  482,  614,  616,  618, 

Grenville,    William    Wyndham, 

Lord,  204-5 
Grey,  Earl,  608 
Greystoke  (Cumberland),  12 
Griffith,  Dr.,  197-203 
Gronow,    Captain,    his    Recollec- 
tions, 52,  54-5,  57~8>  63 
Grove,  Rev.  C.  H.,  257-8 

his  early  recollections  of  Shel- 
ley, 49-50,  107 
and   Shelley's   attachment   to 

his  sister  Harriet,  93-4 
Shelley  attends  lectures  with, 


goes  to  the  Forum  Club  with 

Shelley,  259 
visits    the    Westbrooks,    265, 


and  the  Prince  Regent's  fate,  291 
and  Shelley's  elopement  with 

Harriet,  304-5 

Grove,  Mrs.  Charlotte,  93,  95,  282 
Grove,  Charlotte,  93,  98 
Grove,  George,  49 
Grove,    Harriet    (Mrs.    Heyler), 

266,  292 

Shelley's  attachment  for,  93-5 
Shelley    presents    a    copy    of 

Victor  and  Cazire  to,  98 
and  Shelley's  religious  opinions, 


ends  her  engagement  to  Shel- 
ley, 139-43,    155,  157,   159, 

Shelley's  lines  to,  520 


Shelley   in   England 

Grove,  John,  28,  94,  211-2,  229, 
259-62,  287,  301-2  n.,  307, 

his     letter    to     Sir     Timothy 

Shelley,  230-1 

Grove,  Thomas,  50  n.,  84,  93-4, 

HALLIDAY,  WALTER  S.,  his  re- 
collections of  Shelley,  58, 

Hamilton,  Lady,  13 
Hamilton,  Rachel,  517 
Hanson,  John,  562-6 
Harding,  Rev.  John,  540 
Hargrove,  Rev.  Charles,  557  n. 
Harrow,  49 
Hawkes,  Miss,  269 
Hazlitt,  William,  106,  376,  518 
Helme,  W.,  46 
Hemans,  Mrs.,  79,  80,  286 
Hexter,  Mr.,  53,  57,  71 
Heyler,  Mr.,  142-3  n. 
Heyler,  Mrs.     See  Harriet  Grove 
Higham,  John,  490,  496,  499 
Hill,  Rowland,  159,  260 
Kitchener,  Elizabeth,  273  n. 
extracts  from  Shelley's  letters 
to,     15,     212,    258,    288-9, 
299,    301    n.,    324,    327-8; 
333,  339  n.,  343,  366,  390-1, 
makes  Shelley's  acquaintance, 


Shelley's  first  letter  to,  293  n. 

informed    by    Shelley   of    his 

marriage    to    Harriet,    327, 

invited  to  visit  the  Shelleys, 

328,  356,  372,  390 
told    by    Shelley    of     Hogg's 

perfidy,  354-6 
extract  from   Harriet's  letter 

to,  378 
fined    on    receiving    Shelley's 

pamphlet,  379,  383 
visits    the    Shelleys    at    Lyn- 

mouth,  394,  554 
leaves    the     Shelleys,     396-7, 


Kitchener,  Elizabeth,  her  repre 
sentatives'     claim     on     Sir 
Timothy,  550-4 
her   career   after   leaving   the 
Shelleys,  555-7 

Kitchener,  Thomas,  556 

Hobbs,  Mr.,  150,  186-7 

Hodgkins,  Miss,  36 

Hogg,  John,  165,  316,  326,  333-6, 

his     letter     to     Sir     Timothy 

Shelley,  334 
Hogg,  Thomas  Jefferson,  50  n., 

69,    7°,    79,    93    n.,    257-8, 

and   Shelley's  remarks  on  Sir 

Bysshe,  13-4,  17 
his    comments     on     Shelley's 

sisters,  25-6 

and  Shelley's  microscope,  48 
on  Shelley's  "popularity"  at 

Oxford,  55 

on  the  term  Atheist,  59,  60 
on  Shelley's  love  of  chemistry, 

64-5,  108-13,  I52,  *89 
discusses  German  and  Italian 

literature  with  Shelley,  87-8, 


goes  to  Oxford,  102 
his     description     of     Shelley, 

life   with   Shelley   at   Oxford, 

113-7,  174-7 
and  the  poems  of  Victor  and 

Cazire,  118-21 
on  Shelley's  hatred  of  cruelty, 


on  Shelley's  frugal  habits,  129 
on    Shelley's    love    of    study, 

130-2,  187-8 
shares     Shelley's     scepticism, 

132-8,  152,  157-9 
Shelley's     letters     concerning 

Harriet  Grove  to,  138,  141, 

155,  157 
and  Shelley's  sister  Elizabeth, 

143-4,  284-7 

his  literary  attempts,  145-8 
Stockdale's  bad  impression  of, 




Hogg,  Thomas  Jefferson,  and  Sir 
Timothy,  165 

expelled  with  Shelley  from 
Oxford,  199-205,  215 

shares  lodgings  with  Shelley 
in  Poland  Street,  206-13 

Sir  Timothy  attempts  to  sepa- 
rate Shelley  from,  217-20, 

meets  Sir  Timothy,  222-4,  34° 

peace  proposals  by  Shelley 
and,  231-40 

leaves  Shelley,  240,  245,  260 

and  Shelley's  friendship  with 
Harriet  Westbrook,  270-3, 
277-8,  296,  299 

his  opinion  on  marriage,  274-5, 

Shelley  interests  his  mother 
in,  293 

and  Shelley's  suggested  meet- 
ing at  York,  297 

gives  pecuniary  help  to  Shel- 
ley, 299,  305 

joins  the  Shelleys  at  Edin- 
burgh, 312-6 

returns  to  York  in  company  j 
with  the  Shelleys,  323-7 

his  treachery  in  Shelley's  ab-  i 
sence,  353-6 

his  dislike  of  Eliza  Westbrook,  ! 

extract  of  letter  from  Shelley  ; 
concerning  Miss  Kitchener,  ; 

extract    of    letter    from    Mrs.  \ 

Boinville  to,  418,  430 
letter  to  Stockdale,  163 
Shelley's  bequest  to,  471 
told  of  Shelley's  death,  546 
visits  Mary  Shelley,  607 

Holbach,  Baron  d',  132 

Holbeach,  56 

Holcroft,  Thomas,  225,  612 

Holste,      Mr.,     550,     552,     554 


Hookham,  Thomas,  394,  400-1 
406,  430,  436,  445-7.  474~8 
486,  627 
letter  to  Shelley,  474 

Horsham    (Sussex),    7,     14,    93, 
173,  285,  293,  301,  361,  452 
Houghton-le-Spring     (Durham) , 


Howell,  Mr.,  554 
Hughes,  Mr.,  45-6  n. 
Hume,  Dr.,  491  n.,  506-11 
Hume,  Mrs.,  508-11 
Hume,  David,  132,  170,  187 
Hunt,  John,  183,  545,  561,  576, 

584  n. 
Hunt,  Leigh,  256,  495,  529-30, 

558,  586 
on    Shelley's    fits    of    temper, 


his  descriptions  of  Shelley,  127 
on    Shelley's    letter    to    Lord 

Castlereagh,  149-50 
and  The  Examiner,  183-5,  464 
his   sympathy  for    Shelley  on 

Harriet's  death,  484-5 
his  circle  of  friends,  517-8 
visits  Shelley  at  Leghorn,  ac- 
companied   by    his    family, 
receives  Shelley's   heart  from 

the  burning  embers,  543 
on  Shelley's  death,  545-8 
his  guests  at  Pisa,  560 
and       Shelley's      Posthumous 

Poems,  584 

visits  Mary  Shelley,  607 
and  Mary  Shelley's  edition  of 

Queen  Mab,  621 
Shelley's  bequest  to,  624 
his  letter  to  Elizabeth  Kent, 

|  .       545 

Lord  Byron's  letter  to,  569 

Mary  Shelley's  letter  to,  619 

i  Hunt,   Mrs.   Leigh,    505,    517-8, 

530,  560,  620, 
'  Hurst,  Mr.,  227 

Hurstpierpoint  (Sussex),  280 
i  Hyndman,  Mrs.  H.  M.,  21 

IMLAY,  FANNY.     See  Godwin 
Imlay,  Gilbert,  376 
Intellectual  Observer,  556 
|  Isleworth  (Middlesex),  34 


Shelley  in   England 

JAMES  I,  2 

Johnson,  Dr.  Samuel,  117 
Jones,  Gale,  259 
Jordan,  Mrs.,  10  n.,  59 
Julian  and  Maddalo,   Shelley's, 

Keate,  Dr.  John,  51-3,  56 
Keats,  John,  464,  517,  529,  534, 


his  Lamia,  544-5 
Keith,  Rev.  Alexander,  9,  10 
Keith's  Chapel  (Curzon  Street),  9, 


Kelsall,  Thomas  Forbes,  577 
Kendall,  Rev.  John,  505-6 
Kennedy,  Captain,  414-7 
Kent,  Elizabeth,  544-7,  680 
Keswick,  Shelley  at,  355-77 
Kew,  59 
King,  Dr.    Henry,    Bp.    of   Chi- 

chester,  35 
King,  Dr.  John,  Bp.  of  London, 


King,  Mr.,  147 
Kinglake,    A.    W.,    his    Eothen, 


Kirkup,  Seymour,  570 
Knight's  Quarterly  Magazine,  578 
Koszul,  M.,  85 

his  La  Jeunesse  de  Shelley,  287, 


LAMB,     CHARLES,     106,     375-6, 

500,  607 

Lamb,  Mary,  375,  529,  607 
Lane,  Mr.,  45 
Lang,  Andrew,  134 
Laon  and  Cythna,  Shelley's,  519, 

La      Rochefoucauld,      Fra^ois, 

Due  de,  20 
Lawless,  John,  385 
Lawrence,  William,  523  n. 
Leatherhead  (Surrey),  172 
Lee,  Mr.,  45-6  n. 

Leghorn,   Shelley's  house,   Villa 

Valsovano,  at,  535-6 

Leicester,   Robert  Dudley,   Earl 

of,  19 

Lerici,  Shelley  at,  626 
Leslie,  Rev.  Edward,  56 
Leslie,  Rev.  Robert  J.,  56 
Letter     to     Lord     Ellenborough , 

Shelley's,  393 
Leversley,  John,  478 
Lewis,          Mathew  Gregory 

("Monk"),   73,   75,   89,   97, 


Liberal,  The,  561 
Lido,  Shelley  and  Byron  on  the, 


Lightfoot,  Hannah,  9 
Lind,    Dr.     James,    67-70,     79, 

140  n.,  180 
L'Isle  and  Dudley,  Philip  Charles 

Sidney,  ist  Baron  de,  10-11 
L'Isle  and  Dudley,  Lady  Sophia 

de,  10  n. 
Locke,  John,  132,  163,  168,  170, 

Longdill,  P.  W.,  467,  491-2  n. , 

500,     505-6,     523-5,     629, 

646  n. 

Longman  &  Co.,  Messrs.,  83 
Louis  XVIII,  443 
Lovell,  Robert,  359 
Lovell,  Mrs.,  359 
Lubbock,  Sir  J.  W.,  511 
Lyceum  Theatre,  31  n. 
Lynmouth,    Shelley    at,    393-4, 

Lytton,  Bulwer,  Lord,  607 

MacCarthy,  D.  F.,  148,  383, 557  n. 
Mackintosh,  Sir  James,  416-7 
Macmillan's  Magazine,  136  n. 
Maginn,  W.,  77 
Mahoney,  Father,  77 
Malone,  John,  3  n. 
Marchmont      Street      (London), 

Shelley  at,  465 
Margaret  Nicholson,  Posthumous 

Fragments  of, Shelley's  poem, 

Margaret  Street  (Cavendish  Sq.), 

Shelley  at,  445,  641 



Marlow  (Bucks),  73;  Shelley  at, 

474,  516,  518-27 
Marshall,  Miss,  124  n. 
Marshall,   Mrs.    Julian,   her  Life 
and    Letters    of    Mary     W. 
Shelley,  547  n.,  565,  598 
Mary,  Queen  of  Scots,  i 
Matthews,  Charles,  30 
Matthews,  Judge  Henry,  62  n. 
Medwin,  Thomas,  4,  68,  124  n., 

282,  481  n. 
his  recollections  of  Sir  Bysshe, 

13,  18 

on  Sir  Timothy,  19 
and    the     derivation    of    the 

poet's  name,  21  n. 
on    Shelley's    childhood    and 

early  days,  27,  32,  72-5 
at  Syon  House  Academy  with 
Shelley,     34,     36-8,     43-5, 


on  Shelley's  dancing,  49 
on  Shelley's  early  writings,  77- 

80,  83,  85,  89 
his     description     of     Harriet 

Grove,  94-5 
and  The  Necessity  of  Atheism, 

on   Shelley's    expulsion   from 

Oxford,  208-11 
attends    Surrey    Chapel    with 

Shelley,  260 
helps     Shelley    in     pecuniary 

matters,  360,  387-8 
Mr.   Forman's  edition  of    his 

Life  of  Shelley,  541  n. 
on  Miss  Kitchener,  555 
and  Mary  Shelley,  607 
Medwin,  Thomas  Charles,  34,  65, 

80,  301,  346,  362,  384 
Merle,  William  Henry,  386 
Michelgrove  (Sussex),  2 
Michelgrove,  John,  2 
Michell,  Ann.     See  Slyford 
Michell,  Edward,  7-8 
Michell,  John,  8 

Michell,  Katherine.     See  Shelley 
Michell,  Mary  (nee  Cheale,  mar- 
ried   ist    Timothy    Shelley, 
2nd  John  Michell),  8 

Michell,     Mary    Catherine.     See 


Michell,  Richard,  7,  22 
Michell,  Rev.  Theobald,  7 
Milton,  John,  450 
Minerva  Press,  45-7 
Mirabaud,  J.  B.,  132 
Monson,  William  John    Monson, 

6th  Lord,  71,  83 
Montagu,  Charles,  500 
Montgomery,  Robert,  his  Oxford, 

195,  206  n. 

Montpensier,  Due  de,  26 
Moore,  Thomas,  80,  607 
Morning  Chronicle,  49,  289,  382, 

5°°,  548 

Morning  Post,  96 
Morphett,  Mr.,  491  n. 
Morris,  Charles,  12 
Morrison,  Mrs.  Alfred,  90 
Morrison,  Rev.  W.,  614 
Mount  Coffee  House,  316 
Mount    Street    (Grosvenor    Sq.), 


Moxon,  Edward,  620-2 
Munday,  Joseph,  101-2,  117,  122, 

144-5,  147,  282 
Munday  &  Slatter,  186-7,  I93-4. 


Murray,  John,  463,  519,  561 
Murray,  Patrick,  308,  310 

NANTGWILT  (Radnorshire),  Shel- 
ley at,  387 
Napoleon,  143 
Nash,   Andrew  John,   413,   444, 

Nash,     George    Augustus,     413, 

448,  461 

Neale,  Gibbons,  86  n. 
Necessity      of     Atheism,       The, 
Shelley's  pamphlet,  188-97 
Newark  (New  Jersey),  3 
"  Newspaper  Editor,"  86-7,  89 
Newton,  Cornelia.     See  Turner 
Newton,  Sir  Isaac,  168,  170 
Newton,  John  Frank,  407-8 
Newton,  Mrs.,  402,  407-8 
Nineteenth  Century,  71  n. 
Norbury,  P.,  46 


Shelley  in   England 

Norfolk,  Charles  Howard,  nth 
Duke  of,  10-1,  93,  257-8, 
344-5,  348,  360-2,  "396, 

"  North,  Christopher,"  359 

Northcote,  James,  612 

Norton  (Durham),  102,  165,  219, 
221,  233 

Nugent,  Catherine,  395,  406,  447, 

OLLIER,  CHARLES,  519,  576 

Opie,  John,  611-2 

Original    Poetry    by    Victor    and 

Cazire,  96-100 
Owen,  Hugh,  635 
Owenson,  Miss,  288 
Oxford,    Bodleian    Library,    55, 

456,  544 

Christ  Church,  121,  192 
Magdalen  College,  131,  175 
New  College,  193 
Oriel  College,  172,  196 
University  College,  19,  55,  88- 
90,  101-51,  195-205,  213-21, 
233,  240,  281,  283,  288,  363, 
373,  452,  455-6,  55$ 
Oxford  Herald,  120,  150,  191 



Paine,  Thomas,  160 
Paley,    William,    20,     134,    168, 

220,  224,  279 

Parker,  Robert,  124,  220-30,  656 
Parsons,  Mrs.,  46 
Parthenon,  Shelley's  poem,  171-3 
Paul,  Mrs.,  604 
Peacock,  Thomas  Love,  396  n.,. 

400,  442,  529 
on  Shelley's  voice,  106-7 
and  Harriet  Grove's  marriage, 


his  novels,  145  n. 
and  Shelley's  expulsion  from 

Oxford,  199,  200 
his     description     of     Harriet 

Westbrook,  265-6 
his    friendship    with    Shelley, 

Peacock,  Thomas  Love,  on  Shel- 
ley's love  for  lanthe,  426 
on   Shelley's   separation   from 

Harriet,  436-7,  486 
Shelley  corresponds  with,  444 
Shelley's  bequest  to,  471-2 
and  Charles  Shelley's   illness, 


and  Sir  Percy  Shelley's  bap- 
tism, 540 
co-executor    with     Byron     to 

Shelley's  will,  550 
and  Mary  Shelley's  allowance 

from    Sir    Timothy,    574-5, 

585-6,  588 
and  the  publication  of  Shelley's 

Posthumous  Poems,  581-5 
visits  Mary  Shelley,  607 
and  the  dedication  to  Harriet 

in  Queen  Mab,  621 
his     letter     to     Sir     Timothy 

Shelley,  552 

his  letter  to  Whitton,  583 
Pechell,  Captain  George  Richard, 


Penshurst,  10,  21,  450,  452 
Perry,  Elizabeth,  10 
Perry,  William,  10 
Peyton,  Mr.,  298 
Philipps,  Mr.,  382 
Philipps,  Janetta,  152,  281-3,  286 
Phillips,  Barclay,  188 
Phillips,  C.  &  W.,  96,  188,  193-4, 


Phillips,  Philadelphia,  189 
Pilfold,  Charles,  21 
Pilfold,  Charlotte.     See  Grove. 
Pilfold,    Elizabeth.       See    Lady 

Pilfold,    Capt.    John,    260,    264, 

276-7,   279-80,   301,   311-2, 

316,  318,  324,  337-43,  349, 

366,  391,  522-5,  551 
Pilfold,  Mrs.  John,  390 
Pisa,  Shelley  at,  540-2,  561,  621 
Plum,  Mrs.  Johanna.    See  Shelley 
Pocahontas,  Princess,  35 
Poetical   Essay   on   the   Existing 

State   of    Things,    Shelley's, 




Poland  Street  (Oxford  St.),  207- 

55,  260,  264,  269,  273,  340 
Polidori,  Dr.  John  William,  140  n. 
Political  Register,  The,  99,  149 
Pool,  Lady  Ferdinand,  21 
Pope,  Alexander,  508 
Porter,  Jane,  207 
Posthumous     Poems,     Shellev's, 


Powell,  John  A.,  482,  511-2 
Price,    — ,    Shelley's    friend    at 

Eton,  58 

Prior,  James,  177 
Procter,    Bryan    Walter    (Barry 

Cornwall),  576 
Prometheus    Unbound,  Shelley's, 


Quarterly  Review,  60,  578 
Queen  Mab,   Shelley's,   79,    133, 

151,    400-402,    405-7,    467, 

558,  621 

RADCLIFFE,  ANN,  47,  73 
Rebecca,  Biagio,  16 
Redmarshall  (Durham),  233 
Reeve,  Clara,  73 
Rennie,  Sir  John,  38,  41 
Revolt  of  Islam,   The,   Shelley's, 

519,  520 
Reynolds,  John   Hamilton,   464, 


Richmond  (Surrey),  59 
Ridley,  C.  J.,  197,  201-2 
Roberts,  Captain,  542-3 
Roberts,  William,  396  n.,  633-4 
Robertson,  Rev.  James,  309-10 
Robinson,  J.,  82-4,  146,  148 
Robinson,  Julia,  598-9,  604 
Rogers,  Samuel,  45  n. 
Rome,  William    Shelley's   grave 

at,  534-5 

Keats's  grave,  534 
Shelley's  grave  at,  544 
Romilly,  Sir  Samuel,  501 
Romney,  George,  95 
"  Rosa  Matilda."    See  Mrs.  Byron 
Rossetti,    William   Michael,    85, 

86  n.,  140-1  n.,  343  n.,  557 
Rossini,  529-30 

Rousseau,    Jean    Jacques,    148, 

Ryan,  Major,  436 

SADLER,  Dr.,  134 
Saintsbury,  George,  99 
St.  Giles  in  the  Fields,  529 
St.    George's,    Hanover   Square, 

265,  357  n.,  422-4,  482 
St.  Irving's,  93 
St.   Irvyne,  Shelley's   novel,   85, 

87,  89,  123-6 
St.  John,  Hon.  Charles  Robert, 

St.  John,  Hon.  Mrs.  C.  R.     See 

St.  Mildred's,  Bread  St.,  Shelley's 

marriage  at,  488-9,  653-4 
St.  Pancras,  608-9 
Sala,  Signer,  49 
Schubart,   Christian    Daniel,  74, 

79,  88 
Scott,  Sir  Walter,  74-6,  158  n., 

his    letter    to    Shelley,    80-2, 


Sergison,  Colonel,  29 
Serpentine,  the,  476-9 
Seymour,  Mr.,  6 
Shakespeare,  508 
Sharpe,      Charles      Kirkpatrick, 

I2I-2,    125-6,    148-9,    192-3, 

Shelley,  Bysshe  (d.  1733),  4 
Shelley,  Sir  Bysshe    (the   poet's 

grandfather),  25 
inheritance    from    his    grand- 
parents, 4-6 
his    first    marriage    to    Mary 

Catherine  Michell,   6,    7,   9, 


and  Field  Place,  7,  8 
second  marriage  to  Elizabeth 

Jane  Sidney,  10 
baronetcy  conferred  on,  n 
his  character  and  tastes,  11-5, 


builds  Castle  Goring,  15-8 
his  attitude  towards  religion, 



Shelley  in   England 

Shelley,  Sir  Bysshe  (the  poet's 
grandfather),  and  Shelley's 
expulsion  from  Oxford,  237- 
238,  33i 

and  Shelley's  elopement,  301-3 
Shelley   appeals   for   help   to, 

331,  392 

visited  by  Shelley,  337-8 
consulted  on  Shelley's  mone- 
tary affairs,  411-2 
his  death,  449-50 
his    will,    451-;,    460-2,    465, 

his  letter  to  Whitton,  237 

Shelley,  Charles  Bysshe  (son  of 
the  poet  and  Harriet),  447-8, 
456-61,  471,  486,  490-514 

Shelley,  Clara  Everina  (daughter 
of  the  poet  and  Mary),  519, 
528-9,  534 

Shelley,  Edward  (d.  1588),  2 

Shelley,  Edward  (b.  1670),  4,  8, 
453,  614 

Shelley,    Elizabeth,    Lady    (nee 

Pilfold),  the  poet's  mother, 

93-4,  229-31,  319,  329,  405, 

her     marriage     to     Timothy 

Shelley,  21 

displeasure  at  Shelley's  scepti- 
cism, 160-5,  1 68,  174 
her  interest  in  Hogg,  293-4 
and  her  daughter  Elizabeth's 
reported  engagement,  340-4 

Shelley,  Elizabeth  (the  poet's 
sister),  25-6,  90-3,  96,  140, 
142-4,  147,  159-60,  215, 
230,  261,  278-80,  282-7,  402 

Shelley,    Elizabeth,   nee   Bowen, 


Shelley,  Harriet,  first  meeting 
with  Shelley,  265 

her  beauty,  265-6,  313 

returns  to  school,  accompanied  j 
by  Shelley,  269,  271-2 

is  shocked  at  Shelley's  scepti- 
cism, 272-3 

agrees  to  fly  with  Shelley,  297 

elopes   with  Shelley  to  Edin- 
burgh, 304 

her  life  at  Edinburgh,  312-23 

Shelley,  Harriet,  goes  to  York 
with  Shelley  and  Hogg,  323-5 

left  in  Hogg's  charge  during 
Shelley's  temporary  absence, 

Hogg's  advances  to,  353-6 

her  affection  for  her  sister 
Eliza,  357-8 

life  at  Keswick,  358 

dines  with  the  Duke  of  Nor- 
folk, 361 

and    Miss    Kitchener,    390-1, 

becomes  acquainted  with  the 

Godwins,  398 
birth  of  her  first  child,  lanthe, 

402,  426 
dedication  to,  in  Queen  Mob, 

406,  424-5,  500-1,  621 
her  dislike  of  Mrs.  Godwin,  406 
at  Bracknell,  407 
remarried    to    Shelley    at    St. 

George's,   Hanover   Square, 

gradual      estrangement      and 

separation  between  Shelley 

and,     426-31,     435-7,     493, 

invited    by    Shelley    to    visit 

Switzerland,  441-3 
visited  by  Shelley,  445 
birth  of  her  son  Charles,  447-8 
Shelley  allows  ^200  a  year  to, 

454,  498-9 

asks  Shelley  for  a  further 
allowance  on  behalf  of  her 
children,  456-60,  468-9 

Shelley's  bequest  to,  471,  475, 


her  death,  474 
account  of  the  inquest  on,  476- 

86,  647-51 
reference  in  Laon  and  Cythna 

to,  520 

her  letter  to  Hookham,  430 
extract    from    her     letter     to 

Miss  Nugent,  395,  406,  447, 


Shelley,  Hellen  (the  poet's  great- 
great-grandmother),  2,  5,  6 



Shelley,  Hellen  (the  poet's  sister) 

(b.  1796),  25 
Shelley,  Hellen  (the  poet's  sister) 

(b.  1799),  25-33,  50,  65  n., 

jo,   go,   93,  97-8  n.,  107  n., 

265-6,  272,  282,  368-71,  388 
Shelley,  Hellen  (the  poet's  aunt). 

See  Parker 
Shelley,     Johanna     (the     poet's 

great-grandmother),  3 
Shelley,  John  (1537),  2 
Shelley,    John    (bap.    1666)    (the 

poet's        great-great-grand- 
father), 2-4 

Shelley,  John  (bap.  1696),  4,  8 
Shelley,    John    (bap.    1729)    (the 

poet's    great-uncle),     3,     8, 

246,  405,  449,  453-4 
Shelley,  John  (the poet's  brother), 

25-7.  539,  549,  588-91 
Shelley,  Sir  John,  ist  Bart.,  2 
Shelley,     Sir     John     Courtown 

Edward,   6th   Bart,    v,  viii, 

590  n. 

Shelley,  Katherine  (m.  1664),  7 
Shelley,     Margaret     (the    poet's 

sister),  25,  30 
Shelley,  Mary,  nee  Cheale.     See 

Shelley,  Mary  (the  poet's  sister) , 

25,  90,  265 
Shelley,     Mary     Catherine,     nee 

Michell,  7,  453 
Shelley,     Mary     Wollstonecraft, 

the  poet's  second  wife,  376 
on  Shelley  at  Eton,  56 
first  meets  Shelley,  398 
plights  her  troth  to  Shelley  in 

St.  Pancras  Churchyard,  433 
lines    by    Shelley    to,    433-4, 

Shelley's  sudden  passion  for, 


her  elopement  with  Shelley, 
438,  486,  493,  495 

her  History  of  a  Six  Weeks' 
Tour  through  a  Part  of 
France,  Switzerland,  Ger- 
many, and  Holland,  444 

return  to  London,  445-6 

Shelley,  Mary  Wollstonecraft, 
birth  and  death  of  her  first 
child,  454 

birth  of  her  first  son  at  Wind- 
sor, 455 

her  influence  on  Shelley,  462 

en  route  for  Geneva,  466-7 

goes  to  Bath,  469 

her  grief  at  the  death  of 
Fanny  Godwin,  473-4 

and  the  death  of  Harriet,  480, 
484,  487 

her  marriage  to  Shelley,  488- 
90,  498,  501,  652 

and  the  Chancery  decision, 

her  friendship  with  the  Hunts, 


at  Mar  low,  518 
her  novel,  Frankenstein,  519, 

579,  616,  623 
birth  of  her  third  child,  Clara 

Everina,  519 
dedication  of  Laon  and  Cythna 

to,  519 
and  the  liaison  between  Clare 

Clairmont  and  Byron,  521-2 
and  Shelley's  impending  arrest 

for  debt,  523-6 
leaves  Mario w  for  London,  528 
prepares    for    visit    to    Italy, 


describes  villa  at  Este,  533 
her    grief    at    the    death    of 

William,  534-6 
her  love  of  society,  540 
goes  to  Spezzia,  542 
treasures  the  relic  of  Shelley's 

heart,  543 

and  Shelley's  death,  546 
settles    with    the    Hunts    at 

Genoa,  560 
Byron  appeals  to  Sir  Timothy 

Shelley  on  behalf  of,  562-9 
Sir    Timothy's    allowance    to, 

565,    572-6,    585-6,    591-8, 

and     Trelawny,     567-8,    571, 

calls  on  Whitton,  573-4 


Shelley  in   England 

Shelley,     Mary     Wollstonecraft, 
edits  Shelley's  Posthumous 

Poems,  576,  580,  617 
her  Valperga,  579,  587 
assists  her  father,  587,  608 
her  book,  The  Last  Man,  587-8, 


goes  to  Arundel,  598 
visits  Paris,  601-2 
visits  the  Robinsons,  604 
her  literary  studies,  606-7 
and  Percy's  education,  613-4 
her    description    of    her    son, 


her  novel,  Lodore,  616 
edits  collected  edition  of  Shel- 
ley's poems,  618-22 
edits  Shelley's  prose  writings, 

her  Rambles  in  Germany  and 

Italy,  623 
her  death,  624 
extract    from    letter    to    Mrs. 

Leigh  Hunt,  505 
extract  from  letter  to  Shelley, 


her  letter  to  Sir  Timothy,  594, 

her    letter    to    Whitton,    596, 


letter  to  Mrs.  Booth,  601 
extract    from    letter    to    Jane 

Williams,  569 
extract  from   letter   to   Leigh 

Hunt,  583,  619 
extract    from    letter    to    Miss 

Cuman,  586 
extract    from    letter    to    Tre- 

lawny,  591-606,  615 
Shelley,       Percy      Bysshe,      his 

descent,  1-5 
and  his  grandfather,  Sir  Bysshe 

Shelley,  14-5 
born  at  Field  Place,  21 
tablet      commemorating      his 

birth,  25 

his  brother  and  sisters,  25 
Hellen   Shelley's   recollections 

of  his  childhood,  26-31 
his  appearance  as  a  child,  26 

Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  an  early 

letter,  28 

his  verses  on  a  cat,  31 
his  retentive  memory,  32 
schooldays    at    Syon    House, 

and  his  cousin  Tom  Medwin, 

34-  43,  44 

his    passion    for    reading    ro- 
mances, 45-7 
and     Walker's     astronomical 

lectures,  47-8 
goes  to  Eton,  51-71 
and  Mr.  Bethell,  53-66 
Gronow's  recollections  of,  55- 


his  friendships,  56-8 

tormented  by  his  school- 
fellows, 59-61 

opposes  fagging,  62 

his  fight  with  Sir  Thomas 
Styles,  63 

his  interest  in  chemistry,  65-6 

his  friendship  with  Dr.  James 
Lind,  67-70,  1 80 

in  the  Montem  processions,  71 

dislike  of  sport,  72 

attracted  by  the  "  School  of 
Terror,"  73 

writes  The  Wandering  Jew, 

his  novel,  Zastrozzi,  74,  82,  85, 
87,  91 

his  correspondence  with  Felicia 
Dorothea  Browne,  79 

and  with  Sir  Walter  Scott,  80 

writes  and  publishes  St.  Ir- 
vyne,  85,  87,  89,  123-6 

his  interest  in  German  ro- 
mance, 86-9,  103-4 

recollections  of  a  "Newspaper 
Editor,"  86-9 

signs  his  name  as  a  student 
at  University  College,  Ox- 
ford, 89-90 

and  his  cousin  Harriet  Grove, 

publishes  Original  Poetry  by 
Victor  and  Cazire,  with  his 
sister  Elizabeth,  96-100 



Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  goes  up 

to  Oxford,  1 01  et  seq. 
meets  Thomas  Jefferson  Hogg, 


Hogg's  recollections  of  Shelley 

at  Oxford,  103  et  seq. 
his  personal  appearance,  105, 


his  forecasts  of  the  uses  of  elec- 
tricity and  aerial  naviga- 
tion, 108-9 

disorder  of  his  rooms,  110-3 
rural  walks  with  Hogg,  115 
writes  and  publishes  Posthum- 
ous Fragments  of  Margaret 
Nicholson,  117-22 
C.    K.    Sharpe's   recollections 

of,  121-2,  125 

characteristics,  116-7,  * 27-3 2 
his  metaphysical  studies,  132-5 
and  Stockdale  the  publisher, 

135-7,  X46,  160-7 
rebuked  by  his  father,  137-8 
his     engagement     with     Miss 
Grove  broken  off,    138-44, 


and  Mr.  Bird's  History  of 
Sweden,  144,  147,  150,  629- 

his  novel,  Leonora,  145-8 
his  Poetical  Essay  on  the  Exist- 
ing State  of  Things,  148-51 
his  philosophic  doubts,  152-9 
and  his  father,  159-73 
betrayed  by  Stockdale,  161-6 
competes  for  the  Oxford  Prize 

Poem,  Parthenon,  171-3 
the  misfortunes  of  his  coat, 


and  Godwin's  Political  Jus- 
tice, 180-2 

writes  to  Leigh  Hunt,  183-5 
and  Mr.  Hobbes,  186-7 
writes  and  issues  The  Necessity 

of  Atheism,  188-97 
his  experiences  as  a  printer, 


his  expulsion  from  the  Uni- 
versity, 197-203 
leaves  Oxford,  203-4,  206 

Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  his  life  in 
London  with  Hogg,  at  Poland 
Street,  207  et  seq. 

attends  lectures  on  anatomy, 

and  his  father's  anger,  213 

negotiation  with  his  f atherjfor 
a  reconciliation,  214  et  seq. 

the  intervention  of  Mr.  Whit- 
ton,  the  family  solicitor,  225 
et  seq. 

and  Hogg's  departure  from 
London,  240 

meets  Harriet  and  Eliza  West- 
brook,  245 

desire  to  renounce  his  inherit- 
ance, 246-54 

declines  to  become  a  politi- 
cian, 256-8 

and  the  Duke  of  Norfolk,  256 

and  Captain  Pilfold,  260-1, 

goes  to  Field  Place,  264,  278 

arranges  terms  with  his  father, 

his  interest  in  Harriet  West- 
brook,  265-78,  296-300 

meets  Miss  Elizabeth  Kitch- 
ener, 280 

corresponds  with  Miss  Janetta 
Philipps,  281-3 

and  his  sister  Elizabeth,  284-7 

and  the  Prince  Regent's  fete, 

visits  his  cousin  Thomas  Grove 
at  Cwm  Elan,  292-6 

his  elopement  with  Harriet 
Westbrook,  300-8 

and  his  father's  anger,  301-3, 
311,  316-23 

his  marriage  in  Edinburgh, 

life  in  Edinburgh  with  Hogg, 

goes  to  York  with  his  wife  and 

Hogg,  325 

appeals  to  his  grandfather,  331 
visits  Sussex,  332-49 
his  father  irreconcilable,   336 

et  seq. 


2  Y 

Shelley  in   England 

Shelley,   Percy   Bysshe,  and   his 
mother,    in    regard    to    his 
sister's    rumoured     engage- 
ment with  Graham,  340-3 
and  Hogg's  treachery,  353-6 
leaves  York  for  Keswick,  354 
and  Eliza  Westbrook,  357-8 
and  Southey,  358 
visits   the   Duke    of    Norfolk, 

his    financial     affairs,    362-6, 


writes  to  his  sister  Hellen, 

his  correspondence  with  God- 
win, 372-7 

his  campaign  in  Ireland,  377- 

issues  An  Address  to  the  Irish 

People,  377-9,  383 
his  speech  at  the  Fishamble 

Street  Theatre,  379-82 
meets  Curran,  385 
leaves  Dublin  and  arrives  in 

Wales,  387 
and    the    gossip    about    Miss 

Kitchener,  390-2 
at  Lynmouth,  393-6 
his  Letter  to  Lord  Ellenborough, 

and    Miss    Kitchener's    visit, 


at  Tanyrallt,  395-400 
arrested  for  debt,  396  n. 
revisits  Ireland,  400-1 
writes  Queen  Mab,  400-2 
in  London,  402-13 
birth  of  his  daughter  lanthe 

Elizabeth,  402 
visits  his  father,  405 
makes    the    acquaintance    of 

the  Newtons  and  Mrs  Boin- 

ville,  407 
revisits    Edinburgh    with    his 

wife  and  Peacock,  408-9 
his  finances,  411-3 
his   last   visit   to   his   mother 

at  Field  Place,  414-8 
Mrs.  Boinville's  sympathy  for, 


Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  his  remar- 
riage to  Harriet  in  London, 

parting  from  Harriet,  425-37 
his    meeting    and    friendship 

with  Mary  Godwin,  431-7 
his     elopement     with     Mary 

Godwin,  438  et  seq. 
writes    from    Switzerland    to 

Harriet  Shelley,  441 
returns  to  England,  444 
History  of  a  Six  Weeks'  Tour, 


his  poverty  in  London,  446 
birth  of  his  son,  Charles  Bysshe, 


and  the  death  of  his  grand- 
father, 449 

his  income  resumed,  454 
his  life  at  Bishopsgate,  455 
the  maintenance  of  his  children, 

acts  in  Shakespeare  drama 
on  the  stage  at  Windsor, 


and  the  case  of  Du  Cane  v. 
Shelley,  460-2 

issues  Alastor,  463 

his  second  visit  to  the  Con- 
tinent, 465-9 

and  Godwin's  unfriendly  atti- 
tude, 466 

meets  Byron,  467 

his  return  to  England,  469 

makes  his  will,  470 

and  the  death  of  Fanny 
Godwin,  473 

and  the  death  of  Harriet 
Shelley,  474,  480,  485 

claims  his  children,  484 

his  marriage  with  Mary  Woll- 
stonecraft  Godwin,  487-9 

and  the  Chancery  case,  490-504 

and  the  guardians  for  his 
children,  505-11 

leases  Albion  House,  Great 
Marlow,  516-7 

visits  Hunt  at  Hampstead,  517 

birth  of  his  daughter  Clara 
Everina,  519 



Shelley,    Percy    Bysshe,    writes 
Laon  and  Cythna  (afterwards 
The  Revolt  of  Islam),  519-20 
and  Miss  Clairmont,  521 
arrested  for  debt,  522-5 
Godwin  visits  him  at  Marlow, 


leaves  Marlow,  528 
baptism  of  his  children,  529 
leaves  England  for  Italy,  531 
and     Byron's    child    Allegra, 


meets  Byron  at  Venice,  532 
in  Rome,  death  of  his  child- 
ren    Clara     and     William, 


writes  The  Cenci,  Prometheus 

Unbound,   and    Julian    and 

Maddalo,  535 
birth  of  his  son  Percy  Florence, 


and  Miss  Sophia  Stacey,  536-9 
his  son  christened,  540 
and   his   circle   of   friends   at 

Pisa,  541 

goes  to  Lerici,  542 
his  death  and  cremation,  543 
news  of  his  death  received  in 

London,  544-7 
publication  and  suppression  of 

his  Posthumous  Poems,  576- 


his    poems    edited    by    Mary 
Shelley,  617-22 

his    letters    and    essays    pub- 
lished, 622 
Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  letters — 

to  Allen  Etheridge,  369 

extracts  from,  to  Godwin,  180, 

195,  372-4,  385,  465 
extracts  from,  to  Graham,  84, 

120,  290 

to  Graham,  90-2 
extracts  from,  to  Miss  Kitch- 
ener, 15,  212,  258,  288-9, 
299,  301  n.,  324,  327-8, 
333,  339  n.,  343,  366,  390-1, 

to  John  Hogg,  235 
to  T.  J.  Hogg,  305,  419 

Shelley,  Percy  Bysshe,  letters — 

extracts  from,  to  T.  J.  Hogg, 

137-8,  141-8,  153-60,    162, 

165, 172,260-4,  269-75,  277- 

80,  283-8,  293-300,  397,  409 

extract  from,  to  T.  Hookham, 

extracts  from,  to  Leigh  Hunt, 


to  his  cousin  "  Kate,"  28 
to  Thos.  C.  Medwin,  346,  384, 


extract  from,  to  Janetta 
Philipps,  152 

to  Sir  Bysshe,  331,  393 

to  Elizabeth  Shelley,  342 

to  Harriet  Shelley,  441 

to  Hellen  Shelley,  369 

extracts  from,  to  Mary  Shelley, 
404,  487 

to  Sir  Timothy  Shelley,  168, 
173,  214,  218,  227,  232,  306, 
311,  318,  321,  325,  330,  335, 
341,  351,  363,  365,  388,  403 

to  Mrs.  Timothy  Shelley,  341 

to  Stockdale,  166 

extract    from,    to    Stockdale, 

extract      from,      to      Robert 

Southey,  485 
to  Mr.  Teesdale,  413 
to  Whitton,  247,  250,  337,  339, 


to  William  Willatts,  528 
Shelley,  Sir  Percy  Florence  (the 

poet's  son),  559-64,  572 
his  birth,  536 
his  likeness  to  Lady  Shelley, 


his  baptism,  539-4°,  5^5 
taken    to    see    Sir    Timothy 

Shelley,  593 
his  school  at  Kensington,  599- 

visited     at     school     by     Sir 

Timothy,  600 
letter  to  Sir  Timothy,  605 
the  family  grave  at  St.  Peter's, 

Bournemouth,  608 
goes  to  Harrow,  613 


Shelley  in  England 

Shelley,  Sir  Percy  Florence  (the 
poet's  son),  his  mother's 
description  of,  615-6 

goes  to  Trinity  College,  Cam- 
bridge, 616 

his  allowance  from  his  grand- 
father, 623-4 

succeeds  his  grandfather, 

settles  at  Bournemouth,  624 

his  love  of  sailing,  625 

produces  plays  at  his  theatre 
in  Tite  Street,  625-6 

his  friendship  with  Robert 
Louis  Stevenson,  627 

his  death,  627 

Shelley,  Timothy  (of  Fen  Place, 
the      poet's       great-grand- 
father), 2-8 
Shelley,  Timothy  (of  Champneys) , 


Shelley,  Sir  Timothy  (the  poet's 
father),  8,  93,  185,  655 

and  Sir  Bysshe,  13-4 

leases  Castle  Goring  to  Capt. 
Pechell,  16-7 

education,  19 

characteristics,  20 

his  marriage  to  Elizabeth  Pil- 
fold,  21 

settles  at  Field  Place,  21 

birth  of  his  children,  21,  25 

his  love  of  sport,  72 

accompanies  Shelley  to  Ox- 
ford, IOI-2 

his  religious  views,  134 

his  anger  at  Shelley's  scepti- 
cism, 136-8,  1 60,  365 

makes  inquiries  concerning 
Hogg,  165 

refuses  to  pay  Stockdale's  ac- 
count, 167,  188 

and  Shelley's  expulsion  from 
Oxford,  194  n.,  213-20 

becomes  acquainted  with  Hogg, 

misunderstands  Shelley,  225 

guided  by  Whitton  in  his 
dealings  with  Shelley,  226 
et  passim. 

Shelley,  Sir  Timothy  (the  poet's 

father),    wishes    Shelley    to 

enter  Parliament,  256-8,  374 
asked  to  make  provision  for 

Shelley,    262-4,    336,    339, 

347,  350-2,  360-6 
welcomes    Shelley's    visit    to 

Cwm  Elan,  292-3 
and  Shelley's  elopement  with 

Harriet,"    307-12,     316-23, 

consults  with  Mr.  Hogg,  316, 

326-7,  333-6,  347 
discusses     Shelley     with     the 

Duke    of    Norfolk,    348-9, 

resumes  his  son's  allowance, 


and  Shelley's  Dublin  cam- 
paign, 382-4 

refuses  to  assist  Shelley  to 
buy  the  Nantgwillt  property, 

refuses    to    be    reconciled    to 

Shelley,  404 

and  death  of  Sir  Bysshe,  449 
and    the    case    Du    Cane    v. 

Shelley,  460-2 
and  the  custody  of  Shelley's 

children,  lanthe  and  Charles, 

491-4,  506 
appointed     guardian    to    his 

grandson  Charles,  512-4 
and  Shelley's  debts,  522-6,  539, 

birth  of  his  grandson  and  heir, 

Percy  Florence,  538-9 
and  the  death  of  Shelley,  549- 


representatives  of  Miss  Kitch- 
ener's claim  on,  550-3 
his   dislike   of   Mary   Shelley, 

559,  588 
asked  to  make  provision  for 

Mary  Shelley,  562-9,  572-6, 

585-6,  591-8 
and  the  publication  of  Shelley's 

Posthumous  Poems,  580 
and  his  grandson's  education, 




Shelley,  Sir  Timothy  (the  poet's 
father),  makes  his  grandson 
an  allowance,  623-4 

his  death,  624 

and  the  will  of  John  Shelley, 
of  Field  Place,  644-5 

and  the  deed  concerning  Shel- 
ley's allowance,  646 

his  letter  to  Hogg,  213 

extract  from  his  letter  to  Mr. 
J.  Hogg,  219,  316 

his  letters  to  Percy,  217,  365, 

extracts  from  letters  to  Whit- 
ton,  226,  228-9,  240,  242-4, 
262  n.,  347-9,  412,  463,  514, 
539,  589-90,  592-3 

his  letters  to  Whitton,  253-5, 


his  letter  to  Captain  Pilfold,  337 
Shelley,  Sir  William,  2 
Shelley,  William  (the  poet's  son), 

455,    466,    469,    472,    502, 

528-9,  534,  623 
Shelley-Sidney,  Sir  John,  10,  90, 

171,  240,  450-1 
Shelley-Sidney,  Mrs.  Sophia,  101, 

Shelley  Note-book,  54,  61,  66  n., 


Shelley  Society,  188 
Sidney,  Elizabeth.     See  Perry 
Sidney,    Elizabeth    Jane.       See 


Sidney,  Sir  Philip,  10 
Skeffington,  Sir  Lumley,  488 
Skinner  Street,  375-7,  394,  43 1- 

432,  438,  446,  473,  488 
Slack,  Henry  James,  555-7 
Slater,  Mr.,  599 
Slatter,  Henry,  122,  144-5,  185, 

191,  193-5,  206,  632 
Slatter,  J.,  101,  206,  629-31 
Sly  ford,  Ann,  8 
Smith,  Dr.  Adam,  170 
Smith,  Benjamin,  481-2 
Smith,  Horace,  518,  529,  607 
Southey,    Robert,    124   n.,    149, 
288,    355,    358-66,    377,    408, 
464,  485 

Southey,  Mrs.,  359 

Spezzia,  Shelley's  death  at,  542-3 

Squire,  John,  515 

Stacey,  Sophia,  536-9 

Stamerham,  7 

Stedman,  Mr.,  351 

Sterne,  Laurence,  516  n. 

Stevenson,  Robert  Louis,  627 

Stockdale,  Mrs.,  162 

Stockdale,  John  Joseph,  76, 96-7, 

102,  123-5,  135-7,  144,  !46, 

160-7,  181,  186,  336,  352 
Stockdale' s  Budget,  136  n. 
Stockton-on-Tees,  219,  233,  335, 


Streatham,  Manor  of,  4 
Strong,  Mr.,  281 
Stutters,  Mr.,  46 
Styles,  Sir  Thomas,  63 
Sussex,    Lady    Frances   Sidney, 

Countess  of,  19 
Swinburne,     Algernon     Charles, 

85,  480  n. 
Syon  House  Academy,  34-51 


Tanyrallt    (Wales),    Shelley  at, 

395-401,  409,  633 
Taylor,  John,  641-2 
Teesdale,  Mr.,  413,  461 
Thackeray,  W.  M.,  99,  100 
Thomas,  Mrs.  Jane,  477 
Tite  Street  (Chelsea),  Sir  Percy 

Shelley's  theatre  at,  625-6 
Travers,  Miss  R.  C.     See  Hynd- 


Travers,  Major,  21-2  n. 
Trelawny,   Edward    John,    436, 

486  n.,  541,  543,  560,  567, 

571,   576,   59i,   605-6,   615, 


Turner,  Mr.  Fred,  35,  46 
Turner,  Mrs.,  407,  420,  424,  426, 

Tylecote,  Jeffrey,  517 

Via  Reggio,  543,  548 
Voltaire,  170,  401 


Shelley  in   England 

WALKER,  ADAM,  47-8,  67 
Walker,  Rev.  John,  193,  203 
Walpole,  Horace,  73 
Wandering  Jew,  Shelley's,  74-79 
Warne,  Miss,  359 
Warnham    (Sussex),    7,    27,    32, 


Watson,  James,  500 
Watson,  William,  486 
Weekly  Times,  556 
Westbrook,  Ann,  265  n. 
Westbrook,  Eliza,  288,  298,  395, 


her  copy  of  Queen  Mab,  151 
visits  Shelley,  245 
arid  Shelley's  visits  to  Chapel 

Street,  269-73 

stays  with  Harriet  at  York, 
after  Hogg's  treachery,  353-5 
Hogg's  description  of,  357 
makes    her    home    with     the 
Shelleys,   357~6i,    377.  396, 
398,  400,  426 
Shelley's  dislike  of,  420,  427, 


Shelley's  accusations  against, 
480,  484 

and  the  guardianship  of  Shel- 
ley's children  by  Harriet, 

appointed  guardian  of  lanthe 
Shelley,  512 

her  marriage,  512 

her  kind  care  of  lanthe,  514 

Mr.   Esdaile's  impressions  of, 


her  letter  to  Shelley,  276-7 
Westbrook,   Harriet.     See  Shel- 

Westbrook,     John,     265,     270, 
301-2,  401,  428,  514 

his  business,  266 

insists  on  Harriet  returning 
to  school,  271-2,  297-8 

visited  by  Shelley's  father  re- 
garding the  elopement,  307 

declines  to  help  Shelley  and 
Harriet,  312 

assists  the  Shelleys,  362,  365-6 
377,  454.  485-6 

Westbrook,  John,  Shelley  sends 
the  Address  to,  379 

and  the  separation  between 
Shelley  and  Harriet,  456-9 

and  the  death  of  Harriet,  475, 
480,  482 

and  the  guardianship  of  Har- 
riet's children,  490-506 

made  guardian  of  lanthe 
Shelley,  512 

his  death  and  will,  515-6 
West  Grinstead  (Sussex),  21 
Wetherell,  Charles,  500 
Whitton,  Richard,  470 
Whitton,  William,  226,  246,  307, 
336-9,   343,   37i,   377,   459, 
482,  5H-4,  523,  546,  562-7, 
572-5,  585-8,  594-600,  613 

extracts  from  his  letters  to 
Sir  Bysshe,  227,  302-3,  346 

extracts  from  his  letters  to 
Sir  Timothy,  241-4,  252, 
292,  302,  317-20,  462,  467-9, 
491-2,  524-5,  591 

his  letters  to  Sir  Timothy, 
457,  58i 

extracts  from  his  letters  to 
Shelley,  244,  448 

his  letters  to  Shelley,  249,  251, 

extract    from    his    letter    to 

Amory,  449 
extract  from  his  letter  toDesse, 

Wilkie  &  Robinson,  Messrs. ,82-4, 


Willatts,  William,  528 
Willett's  Bridge  (East  Grinstead), 


William  IV,  10  n. 
Williams,  Capt.  Edward  Ellerker, 

541-3,  545-6,  548,  558,  560 
Williams,  Elizabeth,  511 
Williams,  Rev.  James,  511 
Williams,    Jane,   541,   558,   560, 

569,  572,  577,  616 
Williams,  Capt.  John,  557-8 
Williams,  Owen,  634-5 
Williams,  Richard,  511 
Willis's  Rooms,  49 



Winchester  College,  48 
Windsor,  50,  67 

Wise,  Mr.  Thomas  J.,  188,  557  n. 
Withall,  Mr.  Charles,  v,  vii,  viii, 

476,  483 

Withall,  Mr.  Walter,  ix,  544 

Woellf,  Joseph,  341 

Wollstonecraft,  Mary.  See  God- 
win, Mary  Wollstonecraft 

Wordsworth,  William,  288,  359, 
361-2,  464 

Worminghurst,  2 

Worthing  (Sussex),  14,  96,  188 

YORK,  260,  263,  285,  293-7,  3°5' 
323-33.  345,  351,  353 

Zastrozzi,  Shelley's  novel,  74,  82, 

85,  87,  91 
Zofloya,  or  the  Moor,  by  "  Rosa 

Matilda,"  47,  85 
Zouch,  Thomas,  75  n. 


Printed  by  BALI.ANTYNE,  HANSON  <5r»  Co. 
Edinburgh  &  London 

PR     Ingpen,  Roger 

5431      Shelley  in  England